Supreme Court allows withdrawal of a plea on farmer protests | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Supreme Court allows withdrawal of a plea on farmer protests

ByAbraham Thomas
Mar 05, 2024 09:41 AM IST

The petition was filed in the backdrop of the ‘Delhi Chalo’ call given by farmers on February 13 in protest over the implementation of their demands on MSP for crops

The Supreme Court on Monday allowed the withdrawal of a petition seeking directions for the Centre to reasonably consider the demands of protesting farmers, even as it warned that petitions on such “serious” issues should not be filed for publicity.

Supreme Court of India. (ANI File Photo)
Supreme Court of India. (ANI File Photo)

A bench of justices Surya Kant and KV Viswanathan said, “These are very serious issues. Only a person who is committed and serious about these issues should approach the court.”

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The top court was hearing a petition filed by a social activist Agnostos Theos, claiming to be the managing director of The Sikh Chamber of Commerce.

Noting that the petition was based on newspaper reports, the bench said, “Don’t come here only for publicity by filing a petition based on newspaper reports.” The lawyer appearing for the petitioner told the court that he had instructions to withdraw the petition as there had been subsequent developments to be included in the petition.

Permitting the withdrawal, the court said, “You would have read the newspaper reports that the matter is already pending in the high court (of Punjab and Haryana). You can approach the high court or wait for an order from the high court that can address the grievances.”

The petition was filed in the backdrop of the ‘Delhi Chalo’ call given by farmers on February 13 in protest over the implementation of their demands on minimum support price (MSP) for crops, among other recommendations made by agricultural scientist MS Swaminathan.

The petition said, “The actions taken by the respondent governments by creating fortification across the borders of the national capital, creating hostile and violent situations against its own peaceful citizens and not allowing the farmers to exercise their democratic right, has led to direct and indirect defamation of the intentions and the objective of the protesting farmers.”

The plea sought compensation for the families of farmers who died in the protests and the opening of the borders to Delhi that were blocked in anticipation of the protest affecting traffic movement across Delhi’s borders with neighbouring states.

The petition objected to the prohibitory orders issued by Centre, blocking of social media accounts of individuals sharing news about the protest and employing “aggressive and violent measures”, such as tear gas, rubber bullet pellets, etc., to threaten farmers.

The Swaminathan committee, among its many recommendations, had advised improvement in implementation of MSP for crops other than paddy and wheat and for inclusion of millets and other cereals in the public distribution system (PDS). It further required state agriculture produce marketing committee (APMC) Acts relating to marketing, storage and processing of agriculture produce to be upgraded to one that promotes grading, branding, packaging and development of domestic and international markets for local produce.

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