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Farmers have right to protest, but can’t block roads, said the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court also urged the government to evaluate options to put the legislation on hold till the time a conclusion is reached.

The Supreme Court, while continuing the hearing of the please regarding the ongoing farmers’ protest, observed that the farmers have the fundamental right to protest. However, the Supreme Court also said that while protesting, these farmers cannot block the road as it violates the fundamental rights of other citizens.

The Supreme Court also urged the government to evaluate options to put the legislation on hold till the time a conclusion is reached. The Supreme Court, on Wednesday, December 16, had proposed the formation of an expert committee who can mediate between the government and the farmers’ union.

Chief Justice of India SA Bobde detailed out the nature of the proposed committee and said the panel must have “independent members with knowledge of agriculture and hear both sides and give a report on what is to be done”.

Chief Justice Bobde also said, “Protest’s purpose must be fulfilled by non-violent means. Protests must be about issues. Aggrieved parties must be allowed to articulate and the party that caused the problem must be allowed to answer.”

CJI gave this statement on Senior advocate Harish Salve’s argument. Advocate Salve, who was representing one of the petitioners, said “Protests cannot be just for protest, but to articulate a point of view.”

The farmers’ protest has entered into 23rd day. While some farmers’ unions have outrightly rejected the proposal by the Supreme Court, some groups have said that they would participate in the discussions with the government.

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