The Haryana Progressive Farmers' Union's welfare advocacy organisation for farmers has moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court to oppose the Haryana State authorities' continued detention of farmers in the wake of farmers' protests. (Haryana Progressive Farmers' Union v. State of Haryana)
On Wednesday ( November 25, 2020) , the Bench of Justice Sant Parkash heard the matter and gave the Haryana government time to file a status report on the matter until Thursday, November 26, 2020. Terming the continued detention of farmers as illegal, the petitioner group through Advocated Pardeep Kumar Rapria had approached the High Court.
The petitioner stated, “No one is aware that who has been arrested for what offence and where they are lodged”. The party sought a writ of habeas corpus and assails the detention as violating the right to freedom, the right to life and the protection against arrest and detention (Articles 19, 21, 22 of the Constitution). Farmer leaders were removed from their homes at midnight without any justification being furnished and without any crime being committed, the group says. The rulers were treated, as the petitioner avers, as 'wanted criminals.' Terminating the detention as a tactic to sabotage the Delhi Chalo protests called for by different groups of farmers, the petitioner argued that none of the 'midnight arrests' were in line with the Basu Guidelines (Guidelines for arrest and protection against arbitrary arrest). Under Section 151 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the few arrests about which the petitioners received details were carried out. Section 151 allowed the police to arrest a person on the apprehension of their committing a cognizable offence. The petitioner raised a question as to what crimes the police felt would be committed by the farmers during the Delhi chalo protest march. In any event, no person can be detained for more than 24 hours, the petitioner pointed out. The group approached the High Court for relief on these grounds. On behalf of the State of Haryana, Additional Advocate General Deepak Sabharwal approved the notification. Farmers across the State have been protesting the contentious Farmers Laws introduced by the Central Government in September this year. On October 12, the Supreme Court issued notice on petitions that challenged the Farmers Acts. The petitions before the Supreme Court alleged that Parliament should not have passed these laws because agriculture, a subject within the scope of the State List, on which only state assemblies are allowed to make laws, is specifically prohibited from legislating. In addition, it is claimed that the laws are seriously harmful to the interests of farmers, who will all be at a loss because the laws are leaning towards the "liberalising" of the agricultural industry, which basically means allowing large corporations to join the arena. These laws also do not provide for a judicial redressal mechanism for farmers' disputes, some of the pleas before the Apex Court have pointed out.
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