The Supreme Court on Thursday pulled up the Centre and state governments over the continued road blockades and congestion caused by protests.
Emphasising that roads cannot remain blocked perpetually, a bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul asked the Centre what steps has it taken to remove the road blockade by farmers, protesting against three agriculture laws at Delhi borders.
“We have already laid down the law and you have to implement it. If we encroach, then you may say that we have trespassed on your domain… How to implement the law is your business. The court has no means to implement it,” the bench told the Centre’s counsel.
The top court said there are grievances, which need to be addressed and queried, “How can highways be blocked perpetually? Where does it end”.
Justice Kaul said it is the court’s job to lay down the law, but the responsibility of implementing that law lies with the government.”
On the lighter side, if we intervene and pass directions you will say the court is encroaching. They may have a serious grievance but they cannot perpetually close the highway,” observed the Supreme Court.
It further added, “They have a grievance, but the other people can also have a grievance that they are stuck on the road. Something happened two days ago. For a day, that’s fine, but the highway cannot be blocked permanently.”
The bench said the problem could be solved through either judicial forum or parliamentary debates, but highways can’t be blocked perpetually.
Mehta, on his part, submitted that a high-level committee was formed where farmers were invited, but they refused to join. He added that certain farmers’ representatives have to be made parties in the matter, so that they are informed about the government plans.
The bench, however, said the Centre will have to implead them as parties, as the petitioner may not know about the leaders representing the farmers.
The top court was hearing a plea filed by Monicca Agarwaal seeking directions to remove road blockades, which impedes free movement of traffic between Delhi and Noida.
The bench told the Centre’s counsel to move an application, pointing out steps taken and how the impleadment of some parties will help in resolution of dispute.
The top court has posted the matter for further hearing on October 4.
Earlier on August 23, the top court had asked the Centre to find a solution to the blockade of roads by farmers’ groups protesting against the three agriculture laws. It had observed that protesters have a right to protest at a designated space, but can’t block public roads.
The petitioner had alleged that instead of the normal 20 minutes, she ended up spending two hours for her travel from Noida to Delhi.