The Supreme Court has turned down a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition requesting the immediate evacuation of farmers from the outskirts of Delhi amidst the persisting farmers’ agitation for minimum price guarantees on their produce.

Former Bharatiya Janata Party MLA and social worker, Nand Kishore Garg, presented the plea to clear the border areas.

However, a bench comprising Justices Surya Kant and KV Viswanathan refused to entertain the PIL and directed the petitioner to pursue the matter in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, where it is already under review.

Arguments Presented by the Petitioner

Dr. Garg’s petition, filed under Article 32 of the Constitution of India, called for the removal of farmers obstructing major roads and highways linking Delhi with states like Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan. He contended that these protests have inflicted significant hardships on the general public, affecting their livelihoods, health emergencies, educational activities, and essential tasks.

Dr. Garg expressed concern that these protests have become a recurring issue, holding ordinary citizens ‘hostage’ to what he termed as ‘illegal intransigence’ by farmers. He argued that such protests directly challenge the rule of law, which is fundamental to Indian democracy.

Background and Court’s Response

The Supreme Court’s decision to decline this PIL comes amidst the resumption of thousands of Indian farmers’ march to Delhi, despite heavy barricading and increased police presence, aiming to pressure the government to address their demands.

Previously, the Supreme Court had also refused to hear another PIL concerning the farmers’ protest, emphasizing that such matters should not be brought to the apex court for mere ‘publicity purposes.’ The bench suggested that the petitioner pursue the issue in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, where it was already being examined.

The farmers’ protests, reignited once again, are an extension of the 2020 protests against the government’s three proposed farm bills. Though these proposed laws were withdrawn in November 2021 following months of protests, farmers allege that the Centre has not fulfilled other promises, including the implementation of a minimum support price for all crops.

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