- Delhi Police should decide who should enter the national capital: Court
- Centre has said tractor rally will cause an "embarrassment to the nation"
- Court has adjourned the matter to January 20
The entry of protesting farmers into Delhi has to be decided by the Delhi Police as it is a matter of "law and order", the Supreme Court said today as the centre sought an order against the proposed tractor rally on Republic Day, January 26.
The three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde, said Delhi Police is at liberty to invoke all powers under the law and has all the power 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.
To this Attorney General KK Venugopal said, " It is an extraordinary situation and court may pass orders".
"Does the Supreme Court say as to what are the powers of police and how they will exercise them? We are not going to tell you what to do," replied the bench, also comprising Justices LN Rao and Vineet Saran.
The top court told Attorney General KK Venugopal that since it is not the same bench which is hearing the matter, it was adjourning the hearing to January 20.
The centre, in an application filed through the Delhi Police, had told the court that any proposed rally or protest which seeks to disrupt and disturb the Republic Day celebrations will cause an "embarrassment to the nation".
It urged the court to restrain anyone from conducting any protest march either in the form of tractor march, trolley march, vehicle march or any other mode by entering into the National Capital Region Territory of Delhi.
Farmer leaders, however, have clarified that the rally -- in which 1,000 tractors will participate -- will be peaceful and won't interrupt the day's big parade at Rajpath.
"We will not interrupt the parade on Republic Day," a farmer leader told the media at Delhi's Singhu border. The 50-km parade, they said, will be held in the Outer Ring Road, the road encircling the city.
"We hope the Delhi and Haryana Police will cooperate in this. This parade will be peaceful," the leader said.
The farmers planned the tractor rally as repeated talks with the government failed to resolve the deadlock over the laws, which they say will shrink their income and place them at the mercy of big corporates.
The government has refused to repeal the laws, which have been flagged as its big ticket reforms in the farm sector.
Last week, the Supreme Court put the laws on hold and formed a committee to discuss the issue with all sides and give a report within two months. The farmers, however, have rejected the panel, saying all the members are pro-government.