Last Updated on February 12, 2024 by News Desk
A recent development in the ongoing saga of farmers’ protests in India has seen a significant legal challenge emerge. Uday Pratap Singh, a resident of Panchkula and advocate at the Punjab and Haryana High Court, has filed a plea challenging the suspension of internet services and the closure of borders in response to preparations by farmers’ unions for a protest march from Punjab to Delhi.
The plea, brought before the bench of Acting Chief Justice Gurmeet Singh Sandhawalia, highlights the issue of the unlawful sealing of the border between Haryana and Punjab, particularly at Shambhu near Ambala. The farmers’ proposed ‘Delhi Chalo’ march, scheduled for February 13, is aimed at pressing for the acceptance of their legitimate demands, including the enactment of a law to guarantee a minimum support price (MSP) for crops. Singh asserts that this march is a manifestation of the farmers’ democratic right to peaceful protest.
Central to the plea is the concern over actions taken by Haryana authorities, including the suspension of mobile internet services and bulk SMS in several districts. Singh argues that these measures not only deprive citizens of their right to information and communication but also exacerbate tensions surrounding the protests.
The petition underscores the importance of actions taken by law enforcement authorities being consistent with legal standards and respecting fundamental rights and freedoms. It critiques the implementation of physical obstacles like layers of nails, concrete walls, electrification, and barbed wire fences, stating that such measures risk undermining the foundations of a democratic society governed by the rule of law.
This legal challenge brings into focus the delicate balance between maintaining public order and upholding citizens’ rights to protest and access information. It underscores the need for authorities to approach such situations with sensitivity and adherence to legal principles.
As the matter is set for hearing on Tuesday, February 13, all eyes will be on the Punjab and Haryana High Court as it deliberates on the legality and proportionality of the measures taken by the authorities in response to the farmers’ protests.
Written by — Athi Venkatesh