The centre has appealed to the Supreme Court to stop a tractor rally of protesting farmers scheduled for January 26, the Republic Day. The farmers have planned to hold a huge rally in Delhi on January 26, if their demands to scrap the contentious farm laws are not. Haryana farmers plan to hold a rally too, with one tractor from each village joining in. The farmers had said they were expecting at least 20,000 tractors.
In an affidavit filed in court, the centre cited the constitutional and historic significance of the Republic Day, around which a cluster of events take place.
Citing the grand rehearsal on January 23, the National Cadet Corps rally of January 28, Beating the Retreat on January 29 and "Martyrs Day" on January 30, the centre said: "Any disruption or obstruction in the said functions would not only be against the law and order, public order, public interest but would also be a huge embarrassment for the nation".
The farm laws, the centre told the court, were not hurriedly made but were the "result of two decades of deliberations". The farmers of the nation "are happy as they have been given an additional option over and above existing... no vested right is taken away".
The government said it has done its best to engage with farmers to remove any misapprehensions and misgivings in the minds of farmers. "No efforts from the centre were found lacking," the affidavit said.
The centre was asked to file the affidavit after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta raised the tractor rally issue during the hearing earlier in the day. Mr Mehta wanted the rally to be stopped and the Chief Justice of India had asked Centre to file an application in the matter.
The Supreme Court, which was hearing a bunch of petitions regarding the farmer rally, had suggested that the contentious farm laws be put on hold at the hearing. The court has also suggested the formation of a committee to negotiate on the issue. The farmers, however, refused to participate in the committee after an internal meeting.
The court had issued a series of hard-hitting statements against the centre, saying, "Tell us whether you will put the laws on hold or else we will do it. What's the prestige issue here?"
An order in the matter will be passed on Tuesday.