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Farmers’ Protest Runs into Day 5, Today’s Legal Developments

by Web Desk

File Affidavit Based On Today’s Meeting Directs Punjab And Haryana High Court

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked the central and state governments to file an affidavit basis their meeting with farmers that is scheduled for the evening today. The court is currently hearing two public interest litigations (PIL) related to the farmers’ Dilli Chalo march. One of the PILs challenges the sealing of the Haryana-Punjab border, and the other seeks ways to ensure that highways and rail tracks are not blocked by the farmers.

The case will come up for hearing by the court on February 20.

Two PILS Filed Pertaining To Ongoing Protests

A division bench of acting chief justice GS Sandhawalia and justice Vikas Suri was hearing two public interest litigations (PIL) pertaining to the farmers’ ongoing Dilli Chalo march.

One of the PILs has been moved by advocate Uday Pratap Singha resident of Amravati Enclave, Panchkula. The petitioner has termed sealing of the border between Haryana and Punjab at Shambhu as unlawful, because it has been done with the objective of preventing farmers from exercising their constitutional right to assemble and protest peacefully.

The petitioner stated that the road blockade is causing inconvenience to residents. Additionally, it is also a hindrance in the movement of ambulances, school buses, as well as pedestrians. Diversion of traffic to other channels has increased traffic on alternative routes. The petitioner sought directions for lifting of restrictions imposed by invoking Section 144 of the CrPC and suspension of mobile internet services and bulk SMS in seven districts — Ambala, Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Jind, Hisar, Fatehabad and Sirsa.

The second petition has been filed by advocate Arvind Seth who is a resident of Sector 5, Mansa Devi Complex, Panchkula. He sought directions to ensure that all national and state highways and rail tracks in Punjab and Haryana are not blocked by the farmers. He also sought for action to be taken against the agitators under the National Highway Act immediately.

Additional solicitor general of India, Satya Pal Jain, informed the court today that a meeting has been scheduled between the Union ministers and representatives of the farmers union. Thereafter, the bench directed, “Let a short affidavit be filed by the respondents on February 20.”

The Haryana government has submitted that the protest is unauthorised and organized without permission. It submitted that six districts of Yamunanagar, Charkhi Dadri, Kurukshetra, Jhajjar, Panchkula and Karnal have already earmarked specific areas that may be utilized for holding peaceful protests. Other districts have also been directed to identify such sites. The Punjab government informed that the situation is tense but under control.

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