Why protests even when farm laws stayed: Top Court

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The Supreme Court Monday said it would examine if organisations or individuals who have moved Constitutional court challenging the validity of a legislation are permitted to hold protest on the same issue when the matter is sub-judice.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday said it would examine if organisations or individuals who have moved Constitutional court challenging the validity of a legislation are permitted to hold protest on the same issue when the matter is sub-judice. While hearing a plea filed by a farmers' body which is protesting against the three new farm laws and is seeking directions to authorities to allow it to stage 'satyagrah' at Jantar Mantar here, the apex court asked what are they protesting for when it has already stayed these legislations.

A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and C T Ravikumar also asked the organisation, which has already challenged the validity of the three laws before the Rajasthan High Court, why they want to hold protest when these legislations are "not in force at all". "You want to go for protest. Protest on what? There is no Act in place at the moment. It is stayed by this court. The government has assured that they will not give effect to it, then protest for what," the court observed. The bench asked Attorney General K K Venugopal that once a party has approached the court challenging the validity of the Act, then where is the question of going for protest. "They can't ride two horses at the same time," said Venugopal and also referred to the "unfortunate" incident at Lakhimpur Kheri on Sunday in which eight people were killed in the violence that erupted during a farmers' protest. The bench said when such incidents happen, nobody takes the responsibility. When the top law officer contended that the protest should stop, the bench said nobody takes the responsibility when there is damage to property and physical damage is caused. Venugopal said the government has made it very clear they are not going to withdraw these three laws and therefore, the option for the petitioner is to take forward their challenge to these legislations.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said once the matter is before the highest Constitutional court, nobody can be on the streets on the same issue. Advocate Ajay Choudhary, appearing for petitioner 'Kisan Mahapanchayat' and its president, told the bench that they have filed an affidavit in the court

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