A bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and CT Ravikumar questioned the ongoing protest since a petition has already been moved in the court challenging the validity of the three farm laws. Hearing a plea by Kisan Mahapanchayat to protest at the Jantar Mantar, the Supreme Court said it would examine if the right to protest is absolute.
Why are farmers continuing their protests even after challenging farm laws in court, the Supreme Court questioned strongly today after eight people, including four farmers, were killed in violent protests in an Uttar Pradesh district. The central government argued that there can be "no further farmer protests" as incidents like Lakhimpur Kheri could not be allowed.
"We have stayed the farm laws. There is nothing to be implemented. What are the farmers protesting about? No one other than the court can decide the validity of the farm laws. When that is so, and when farmers are in court challenging the laws, why protest on the street?" A Bench led by Justice AM Khanwilkar was amazed. "When such incidents happen, causing deaths, loss to property, and damage, nobody takes responsibility," Justice A.M. Khanwilkar observed.
Attorney General K.K. Venugopal described the Lakhimpur Kheri violence on Sunday as an "unfortunate incident". The top law officer for the government said the court should make it very clear that protests should not continue when the challenge against the farm laws were in the highest court of the country.
"No more unfortunate incidents like this should take place... The protests must stop," Mr. Venugopal, supported by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, submitted. Advocate Ajay Chaudhary, appearing for the Petitioner Kisan Mahapanchayat argued that the protest was not limited only to the enactment of the Farm Laws. The protest was also meant to be positive in nature, to seek the implementation of Minimum Support Price as a statutory right, among other issues. While ordering the transfer of petitions against farm laws pending in Rajasthan High Court, the Bench asked the Centre to respond to it and posted the matter for further hearing on October 21.