Delhi HC refuses to entertain PIL against farmers’ protest

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday refused to entertain a pubic interest litigation (PIL) filed against the farmers’ protest at the various borders of the national capital in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan, while refusing to entertain the PIL, said the same petition can be filed before Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Allahabad, as well. The court also raised a jurisdiction issue in the matter and pulled up the petitioner for loosely drafting the petition and its prayer.

The bench also noted the submissions of advocate Sanjay Ghosh, appearing for the Delhi government, who apprised the court that a similar matter is pending before the Supreme Court, which is looking into the larger issue.

However, the court disposed of the petition with liberty to the petitioner to file it with proper averments. This comes as thousands of farmers are protesting at different borders of the national capital against the recently passed farm laws.

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Advocate Rohit Jha, appearing for the petitioner, sought the aid, treatment and security of the farmers and expecting the amicable resolution of the present circumstances wherein the present agitation may at any point of time can take the face of violent riots.

That various unavoidable circumstances are seen since the severe protests by the various groups of farmers has started on November 25, 2020, due to the tense situation between the protesting farmers and the police, the plea claimed.

It stated that the farmers have accumulated at the various borders of NCT Delhi are at high risk of getting infected with COVID-19 as there is no situation of social distancing among the farmers and most of the protestors are spotted without wearing a mask.

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“It will also create a difficult situation for the residents of NCT Delhi, as the residents of the NCT Delhi are more likely to be affected if there are a large number of COVID-affected protestors. There is a chance of the mass spread of coronavirus in Delhi, which can make the situations more critical,” the plea said.

It said farmers, who are protesting at various borders of the national capital, are vulnerable to various kinds of diseases, which may pose a threat to women, children and aged protesters. The plea also said there is a possibility that the violent anti-national groups may see this as a good opportunity to convert the peaceful protest by the farmers into violent riots.

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