Lakhimpur Kheri violence: SC says nobody takes responsibility of such incidents

PTI, Oct 4, 2021, 6:14 PM IST

New Delhi: Nobody takes the responsibility when such incidents happen, the Supreme Court said on Monday when Attorney General K K Venugopal referred to the “unfortunate” incident at Lakhimpur Kheri where eight people were killed in the violence that erupted during the farmers” protest.

Hearing a plea by a farmers’ body, protesting against the three new farm laws and seeking directions to authorities to allow it to stage ‘satyagrah’ at Jantar Mantar here, the apex court observed that nobody takes the responsibility when damage to property as well as physical damage is caused in such incidents.

Venugopal told a bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and C T Ravikumar that when the validity of the three new farm laws have already been challenged before the court, the protests have to stop.

“We have seen the unfortunate incident which has taken place yesterday at Lakhimpur Kheri,” said the top law officer, adding eight persons have lost their lives in the incident.

“When such events happen, nobody takes the responsibility,” the bench said.

Two FIRs have been registered in connection with Sunday”s violence at Lakhimpur Kheri that broke out after two SUVs allegedly ran over a group of anti-farm law protesters who were demonstrating against a visit of Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya. Eight people were killed in the violence.

When Venugopal said the protests have to stop, the bench observed that nobody takes the responsibility when there is damage to property and physical damage is caused.

The Attorney General said that no more unfortunate incident should take place.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said that once the matter is before the highest Constitutional court, nobody can be on the street on the same issue.

The top court said it would examine whether an individual or an organisation, which has already moved the constitutional court challenging the validity of a legislation, be permitted to hold protest on the same issue when the matter is sub-judice.

The bench also asked the petitioner why are they protesting when these three farm legislations have already been stayed by the top court.

The top court was hearing a petition filed by ‘Kisan Mahapanchayat’, a body of farmers and agriculturists, and its president seeking directions to the concerned authorities to also provide space to at least 200 farmers or protestors of the body at the Jantar Mantar for organising peaceful and non-violent ‘Satyagrah’.

Several farmer organisations are protesting against the passage of three laws — The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 and Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020.

Initially, the protests started from Punjab in November last year and later spread mainly to Delhi, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh.

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