Legal Twist: Supreme Court allows withdrawal of a plea in Farmer Protest Matter

Supreme Court allows withdrawal of a plea-Pending the ‘Delhi Chalo’ summons issued by farmers on February 13 to protest the implementation of their demands on MSP for crops, the petition was subsequently submitted.

Supreme Court allows withdrawal of a plea

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On Monday, the Supreme Court allows withdrawal of a plea of a petition that was petitioning the Centre to consider the demands of protesting farmers in a reasonable manner. However, the court cautioned against filing publicity-driven petitions on “serious” matters.

Justices Surya Kant and KV Viswanathan, comprising a bench, opined, “These are extremely grave matters. “Only an individual who is genuinely dedicated and serious should enter the courtroom regarding these matters.”

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A petition was being heard by the highest court, in which Agnostos Theos, a social activist, claimed to be the managing director of The Sikh Chamber of Commerce.

The bench stated, in reference to the petition’s reliance on newspaper reports for its grounds, “Do not come here solely to gain publicity by filing a petition based on newspaper reports.” The attorney representing the petitioner informed the court that he had received instructions to withdraw the petition due to subsequent developments that needed to be incorporated.

“You would have read in the newspapers that the matter is already pending in the high court (of Punjab and Haryana),” the court stated in granting permission for the retraction. You have the option of petitioning the high court or awaiting  its order before bringing your grievances to its attention.

The petition was submitted against the backdrop of the ‘Delhi Chalo’ appeal issued by farmers on February 13 to protest the implementation of their demands, which included, among other things, the minimum support price (MSP) for crops and agricultural scientist MS Swaminathan’s recommendations.

Supreme Court allows withdrawal of a plea

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The petition stated, “The respondent governments’ actions in fortifying the borders of the national capital, inciting hostility and violence against their own peaceful citizens, and preventing the farmers from exercising their democratic right have resulted in direct and indirect defamation of the protesting farmers’ intentions and goals.”

The petition demanding restitution for the families of farmers who lost their lives in the demonstrations and the reopening of Delhi’s borders, which had been closed in anticipation of the demonstrations impeding traffic across the city’s borders with neighbouring states.

The petition raised concerns regarding the prohibition orders issued by the Centre, the barring of social media accounts belonging to individuals who were disseminating news regarding the protest, and the use of “aggressive and violent measures” to intimidate farmers, including tear gas and rubber bullet pellets.

In addition to its numerous recommendations, the Swaminathan committee suggested that the implementation of MSP for commodities other than paddy and wheat be improved, and that millets and other cereals be included in the public distribution system (PDS). Additionally, it mandated the enhancement of state agriculture produce marketing committee (APMC) Acts pertaining to the storage, processing, and marketing of agricultural products to include provisions for the development of domestic and international markets for local produce, as well as classification, branding, and packaging.

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