The Supreme Court today said it will not pass orders on the planned tractor rally on Republic Day in New Delhi since it is the police that must decide on these matters. Thousands of farmers were scheduled to hold such a parade in the national capital in the event of the failure of talks with the Central government over the three new contentions agricultural laws. Following the top court's stand on the issue, the Union government said it will leave it for Delhi police to decide on the event.
The court was hearing a plea from the Central government asking it to order the farmers not to carry out the tractor rally amid the Republic Day celebrations. The court allowed the Centre to withdraw its plea and put the onus on Delhi Police.
"We see it as irregular and improper to allow or disallow any rally or procession. The norm is it is police matter. The police decides it. We are not going to pass the order," a Supreme Court bench said today.
Earlier on Monday, the three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India, Sharad Arvind Bobde, had said in the case's context that Delhi Police was at liberty to invoke all powers under the law to deal with law and order situations. "Who should be allowed and the number of people to enter are all matters of law and order to be decided by the police. We are not the first authority," said Chief Justice Bobde.
The Centre's application, filed through the Delhi Police, had told the court that any rally or protest that disrupts or disturbs the Republic Day celebrations will cause "embarrassment to the nation".
Farmer leaders, however, have clarified that the rally will be peaceful and won't interrupt the day's big parade at Rajpath. "They are going to celebrate Republic day and won't breach peace with their tractor rally," advocate Prashant Bhushan told the court today while representing the farmers.
The Chief Justice responded saying, "Please assure the citizens of Delhi on peace. As a court we are expressing our anxiety."
When Attorney General KK Venugopal informed the court that "5,000 tractors" were scheduled to enter Delhi and that they would go all over the city, the Chief Justice said he the bench trusted Mr Bhushan's assurance that it will all be peaceful.
"You decide how it is going to be peaceful. These are matters purely in the domain of the executive. We trust Prashant Bhushan's statement that they want to be peaceful," Chief Justice Bobde said.
The Attorney General then said that the Delhi police will take a call on the farmers' planned tractor rally.