Farmers' R-Day tractor rally in Delhi to be decided by police: SC

18-01-2021

New Delhi, Jan 18 (UNI) The Supreme Court on Monday asserted that the police is the 'first authority' to decide whether protesting farmers can be granted entry into the national capital or not while hearing an application by the Delhi Police seeking injunction against farmers' unions from causing any disruption to the Republic Day celebrations in the national capital. 

Apex Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde and comprising Justices LN Rao and Vineet Saran also refused to pass any order on protesting farmers' proposed parallel tractor rally during Republic Day celebrations on January 26. 

"The question of entry into Delhi is a law and order situation that is to be determined by the police. We have told the AG and SG before that whether who should be allowed and who should not be allowed and the number of people who can enter are all matters of law and order to be dealt with by the police. We are not the first authority. You are at liberty to invoke all powers under the law," the CJI stated.

In its plea, the Delhi police contended that farmers' tractor rally could cause law and order problems and create an embarrassing situation for the country in the eyes of the entire world.

"Right to protest is always subject to the countervailing public order and the public interest. The right to protest can never include maligning the nation globally,' the plea read.
During the course of hearing, Attorney General KK Venugopal, on behalf of the Delhi police said, "This will be illegal. The entry of 5000 people into Delhi."

"Mr Attorney General, we are adjourning the matter and you have all the authority to deal with this matter," the court further said.

"We are not going to tell you what you should do. We will take up this matter on Jan 20", the bench said informing that the matter will be heard on Wednesday. 
Meanwhile, the farmer unions' are firm on holding the rally on Republic Day and was proceeding with mock tractor rallies in various parts of Punjab to encourage more and more people to join the proposed 'Kisan Tractor March' in large numbers.

However, some reports said that farmer leaders have said the tractor rally on January 26 will only take place at the Haryana-Delhi borders and the farmers are not planning to disrupt the Republic Day parade at the Red Fort.