The Supreme Court took a nuanced stand on Monday, saying farmers have the right to protest but the agitation should not hinder traffic or public movement.
A Bench led by Justice S.K. Kaul said the solution to end the farmer-government impasse over the three agriculture laws lay with the government.
Protesting farmers have been camping on the outskirts of the Capital for over a year.
The court has asked the Central, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh governments to take stock of the ground situation.
The Bench, also comprising Justice Hrishikesh Roy, was hearing a petition filed by Monica Agarwal, a Noida resident. She has complained that commuting to and fro between Delhi and Noida has become a nightmare due to road blocks because of the farmers’ protest.
“The solution lies in the hands of the Union and States. If the protests are on, the traffic should not be stopped in any manner, so that to and fro for people is not disturbed,” the Bench remarked.
The court asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, to ask his client to intervene.
In a recent affidavit, the Uttar Pradesh government said it had reached out to the farmers about the inconvenience being caused to commuters. Blocking free public movement was illegal, it stated.
The court scheduled the next hearing for September 20.
“It is her say that she is a single parent and also has some medical issues and it has become a nightmare to travel to Delhi where it is taking two hours instead of normal 20 minutes. She contends that despite the various directions passed by this Court to keep the to and fro passage clear [the roads], the same still does not happen. We did put to her if it is so, it is an administrative failure as the judicial view has already been propounded by us,” the Bench noted in its April order.