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Cops to decide on tractor rally: SC

AGENCIES 

New Delhi, Jan 18: The Supreme Court told the Centre Monday that the proposed tractor rally on the Republic Day by farmers protesting against the new farm laws is a “law and order” matter and Delhi Police is the first au-thority to decide who should be al-lowed to enter the national capital.

 A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde, while hearing the Centre’s application seeking an injunction against the proposed tractor march or any other kind of protest which seeks to disrupt the gathering and celebra-tions on January 26, said that police have all the authority to deal with the mat-ter “Does the Supreme Court say as to what are the powers of police and how they will exercise them? We are not going to tell you what to do,” said the bench, also comprising Justices LN Rao and Vineet Saran. The apex court told Attorney General KK Venugopal that it will take up the matter for hear-ing Wednesday January 20.

 “The question of entering into Delhi is a law and order matter and will be determined by the police,” the bench said, adding, “Mr Attorney General, we are adjourning the matter and you have all the authority to deal with this matter” The Centre, in an application filed through Delhi Police, has said that any proposed march or protest which seeks to disrupt and disturb the Republic Day celebrations will cause an “embarrassment to the nation”.

 During the hearing conducted through video-conferencing, the bench said who should be allowed to enter Delhi and who should not be allowed has to be dealt with by the police as the court is not the “first authority”.

 The bench told Venugopal that the apex court is seized of the issue of farm laws and “we have not said any-thing on police powers”. 

The apex court then asked, ‘Are farmers’ unions appearing today?”. Senior advocate Dushyant Dave said he was representing some farmer unions in the matter. Advocate AP Singh, representing one of the farmers’ bodies, told the bench about the affidavit filed by them requesting the top court to remove the remaining three members of the court-appointed committee to re-solve the issue of farm laws and select people who can do the job “on the basis of mutual harmony”.

 “We will hear everyone on that day (next date of hear-ing),” the bench said, adding, “We will hear you in the same combination of bench”. On January 12, the top court had stayed the implementation of the contentious new farm laws till further orders and constituted the four-mem-ber committee to make recommenda-tions to resolve the impacce over them between the Centre and farmers’ unions protesting at Delhi borders. Later, Mann had recused himself from the court-appointed committee. The top court had on January 12 said it would hear the pleas against the farm laws after eight weeks when the committee would give its suggestions to resolve the impasse after talking to the protesters and the government. Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and western UP, are protesting at border points of Delhi. 

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