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"Peaceful protest bedrock of human rights," SCBA condemns use of force against farmers

Peaceful protest bedrock of human rights, SCBA condemns use of force against farmers

Protesters shout slogans as they place a picture of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a buffalo during a demonstration in support of farmers against the recent agricultural reforms in Amritsar on December 10, 2020.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) has condemned the use of force and repressive measures against those who are peacefully protesting against the recently passed farm laws.

In a statement released here, SCBA's executive committee expressed disappointment over the police actions against the protesters.

"The Executive Committee of the Supreme Court Bar Association has been dismayed to read reports in the media about the use of brute force to break up peaceful protests, where citizens raise their voices against State actions which they believe denigrate their basic rights. The recent legislation on farm produce, which exclude the jurisdiction of civil courts, followed by use of force to prevent the farmers from holding non-violent protests for their rights in a case in point. The farmers have sought to present their views on the legislations which in their opinion infringe on their rights. This Association emphasis that the right of citizens to discuss, debate, criticise or protest against such bills or acts is sacrosanct. Peaceful protest is a cornerstone of our constitution, and the bedrock of human rights," the statement reads.

Earlier, the SCBA president Dushyant Dave had termed the laws "unconstitutional and illegal" and guaranteed his services as a lawyer "pro bono" to the protesting farmers if they wished to challenge them in court.

The farmers are aggrieved by the passing of the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020.

The apex court has already resolved to hear at least three pleas filed by various parties questioning the constitutional validity of the contested laws.

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