The Centre on Monday moved the Supreme Court seeking an injunction against the “proposed” tractor march by those protesting against the new farm laws saying it was an effort to “disrupt the august gathering and celebrations of the nation on Republic Day”.
“It has come to the knowledge of the security agencies through various sources that the small group of protesting individuals/organisations have planned to carry out a tractor/trolley/vehicle march on Republic Day” and that the “proposed march is slated to disturb and disrupt the august celebrations of nation on Republic Day and would be bound to create a massive law and order situation”, the Centre’s application said, seeking directions from the court.
The Centre said that the Republic day function “has its own Constitutional as well as historical significance. The…ceremony is not an isolated standalone ceremony rather a grand rehearsal takes place on 23 January where everything which is to happen on 26 January of each year is rehearsed.”
It pointed out that on January 28, there is a ceremonial function called NCC Rally followed by the Beating the Retreat ceremony on January 29 and Martyr’s day on January 30, which brings the ceremonial functions to an end.
“Any disruption or obstruction in the said functions would not only be against the law and order, public order, public interest but would also be a huge embarrassment for the nation,” the Centre said urging the court to pass an order of injunction to stop “anyone to conduct any protest march either in the form of tractor march, trolley march, vehicle march or any other mode [or any protest in any form] by entering into the National Capital Region Territory of Delhi”.
Asserting that the security apparatus during days of national celebrations is strengthened, the Centre said the march, “which is bound to create a serious law and order situation and will cause an embarrassment to the nation”.
Stipulating that the right to protest is subject to the countervailing public interest and law and order, the government added that “the right to protest can never include maligning the nation globally”.
The government further said that a similar protest had been carried out in Delhi recently and that this time, the authorities have earmarked a route that can be used.
“This fact is pointed out to satisfy this Hon’ble Court that while the security agencies and police department would do everything possible to avert and prevent any law and order situation, peaceful protest has always been permitted recognising the same as fundamental right”, the plea said.
The application further said that due to the protests, seven roads in and around the National Capital Region territory, are fully blocked and four other roads are partially blocked [from one side].