The Supreme Court on Thursday said farmers had the right to protest, but roads cannot be blocked indefinitely.
A bench, headed by Justice SK Kaul, granted three weeks’ time to farmer unions, leading the nearly year-long agitation along the borders of Delhi and elsewhere against the three central farm laws, to file their response on a petition seeking removal of the protesters from the roads. The court posted the matter for further hearing on December 7.
The court was hearing a petition filed by a resident of Noida, Monicca Agarwal, urging that the protesters be removed from the roads of the national capital region (NCR) as the agitation has led to delays in daily commute.
“Ultimately some solution has to be found. We are not averse to their right to protest even when a legal challenge is pending, but roads cannot be blocked,” the court said.
“You may have a right to agitate in any manner but roads should not be blocked like this. People have right to go on roads but it cannot be blocked,” said the bench also comprising Justice MM Sundresh.
The apex court had earlier called for redressal through judicial forum, agitation or parliamentary debates while referring to the blockade of highways by farmers.
“The redressal of problems can be through judicial forum, agitation or through Parliamentary debates. But how can the highways be blocked and this is happening perpetually. Where does this end?” the court had said.
The farmers have been camping along the borders of Delhi for about a year demanding that the three centrally passed agri laws be rolled back.