The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to entertain a batch of petitions seeking investigation into the violence that erupted during the farmers’ tractor rally on January 26, Live Law reported. While some petitioners sought judicial inquiry, others wanted a National Investigation Agency or Central Bureau of Investigation probe in the matter.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde allowed the petitioners to withdraw the pleas and approach the appropriate government ministry with a representation.
“We are sure that the government is inquiring into it [the violence] and taking appropriate action,” Justice Bobde said during the hearing. “We read a statement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in press that the law will take its own course. So the government is already investigating it. We do not want to interfere in it at this stage.”
However, one of the petitioners counsel raised apprehensions that both the sides will not be heard in the government inquiry. “You just assume it will be one-sided,” the chief justice questioned. “Of course both sides will be heard, that is how an investigation works”.
The bench, also comprising Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, dismissed a similar public interest litigation filed by advocate ML Sharma. He claimed that there was a planned conspiracy to sabotage the protests against the farm laws. He further sought a direction to the concerned authority as well as the media not to declare farmers as “terrorist” without any evidence.
So far over 120 people have been arrested in connection with the violence on Republic Day and 44 first information reports have been filed. This includes 15 individuals below the age of 20, six below 19 and two below 18, according to NDTV. A 80-year-old farmer is also among those arrested.
Cases have also been filed in multiple states against Congress leader Shashi Tharoor and journalist Rajdeep Sardesai for allegedly sharing unverified news about the death of a protestor during the tractor rally.
Last week, the Delhi Police had sent notices to 20 farmer leaders, and Swaraj India chief Yogendra Yadav, directing them to surrender their passports. The notice questioned why legal action should not be taken against them for the chaos and the violence.
Over 300 police officers were injured after thousands of protesting farmers poured into Delhi from various points. Clashes had erupted between the police and protestors, resulting in the most violent escalation in two months of a generally peaceful agitation. Some protestors had even scaled the walls of Red Fort and hoisted flags on the monument. The police fired tear gas, blocked internet access and charged demonstrators with bamboo sticks.