Vivek Gupta

Chandigarh, August 4, 2021: During the resumed hearing of the plea of an Adani Group subsidiary seeking removal of blockade by farmers protesting against the Centre’s three controversial farm laws outside its Ferozepur warehouse, the Punjab government has told the Punjab and Haryana High Court that the present situation is unprecedented but the state government has been successful in maintaining law and order and a peaceful environment. 

Strenuous efforts are being made and the strategy employed to resolve the matter is being reviewed on a regular basis, the state government told the High Court.

Based on the reply of the state government, the bench of Justice Lisa Gill has noted that at this stage, it cannot be concluded that the state government has not taken any steps for resolving the issue. 

“As per its affidavit dated 29.07.2021, it is reiterated that the administration is hopeful of resolution of the matter in the near future,” the Bench said.

“Therefore, I deem it expedient to allow some more time to the state government to make renewed and strenuous efforts in this regard so that the petitioner is able to carry on its business activities. At request of learned counsel for the respondent-State, the matter is adjourned to 31.08.2021,” said the Bench.

Meanwhile, the state government in its affidavit stated that a high-level committee constituted to resolve the issue has been actively working towards achieving its objective of lifting of the blockade by the protesting farmers. It further stated that various members of the Committee have personally held meetings with the stakeholders, adding that meetings between representatives of the said company, local leaders and members of Gram Panchayats were also facilitated.

The state government further stated that some progress has been made, inasmuch as some members of the Gram Panchayat of village Sappanwali, have expressed their willingness to engage with the villagers to resolve the matter. 

Commissioner of Police, Ludhiana has stated that various conciliatory meetings have been organised with various key members of the Kissan Unions and other organisations, which are expected to be instrumental in bringing about a positive result in the near future. 

The affidavit further stated that necessary steps are being adopted to facilitate the day to day functioning of the petitioner-company.

The petitioner’s counsel on the other hand raised an objection to the adjournment while submitting that specific and clear cut directions should be issued to the government to take all necessary steps to immediately lift the blockade as the petitioner is suffering heavy financial loss and the prevailing situation is a clear cut violation of the petitioner’s right to carry on with its livelihood.  

The bench, however, observed that it is considered just and expedient to allow some more time to the state government to try and resolve an unprecedented situation, which has arisen in wake of the new farm laws.

“It is relevant to note at this stage, that the Hon’ble Supreme Court is seized of three categories of petitions revolving around the validity or otherwise of three farm laws,” noted the bench.

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