On Tuesday, the Supreme Court issued notice to the farmers' unions on the Delhi Police's plea seeking an injunction on the tractor march in the national capital on Republic Day. When senior advocate Harish Salve submitted to the SC that the Republic Day parade "must go unblemished", CJI SA Bobde recalled senior advocate Dushyant Dave's assurance given on Monday that there would be no tractor rally on January 26. However, Salve informed the bench that Dave was not present in the court during today's proceedings.
Similarly, Attorney General KK Venugopal expressed apprehension over a group of nearly one lakh people entering Delhi on Republic Day. In response, the CJI noted that the Delhi Police was well within its rights to check if the protesters are armed. The matter will be heard by the three-judge SC bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice V Ramasubramanian on January 18. As per the Delhi Police's application before the apex court, the proposed farmers' march can disturb the Republic Day celebrations leading to a law and order situation.
Maintaining that the right to protest is always subject to the "countervailing public order and the public interest", it opined that the right to protest cannot imply "maligning the nation globally". Highlighting the significance of the Republic Day function, the police contended that any disruption will be tantamount to causing a "huge embarrassment" for India. It requested the SC to restrain anyone from conducting a protest march by entering Delhi on January 26. Earlier in the day, the farmers' unions downplayed the SC's order staying the implementation of the farm laws and reiterated that their protest on Republic Day in Delhi and other parts of the country will go ahead as scheduled.
From what started as a scheduled protest in the national capital on November 26 and 27, 2020, many farmers are still protesting at the borders of Delhi against The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. Apart from the 8 rounds of meetings that have taken place between Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar and the farmers' leaders, Union Home Minister Amit Shah also met them on one occasion. Though the SC said in its order that it did not intend to stifle a "peaceful protest", it appealed to the farmers' unions to convince their members to get back to their livelihood as a result of this "extraordinary order".