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Narendra Modi government withdraws plea on farmers' tractor rally as SC says won’t intervene


NEW DELHI:  The Centre on Wednesday withdrew its plea seeking an injunction against the proposed tractor rally being planned by the farmers’ groups on January 26 against the new agriculture laws after the Supreme Court allowed the Delhi Police to withdraw the application, saying “it is a police matter”. 

The bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde refused to keep the application pending, asserting that “this is not a matter for the court to decide. You (the police) have the powers under the law”.

During the hearing, Attorney General K K Venugopal informed the court that 5,000 tractors were going to enter Delhi for the rally. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta also demanded that the case be considered on January 25, after seeing how the situation develops.

“No, no. This is not a matter for the court to decide. You have the powers under the law. It’s highly inappropriate for the court to act as the first authority to allow or disallow protesters. We can allow you to withdraw the application. You are the executive and you have the power to look into this. It’s an issue of law and order and of the police,” the court said.

The Delhi Police had approached the SC seeking direction to stop farmers’ proposed tractor rally on Republic Day. 

“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,” Delhi Police had submitted.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for some farmer unions, said that farmers are convinced that the new farm laws are against them.

“Suppose, we uphold the law then you protest. You counsel them properly. The only rider is to ensure that the people of Delhi are in peace,” the bench said.

The bench said the authorities can record the statement of Bhushan’s clients that they also want peace and they should talk on the issue.