Taking note of the habeas corpus petition against the illegal midnight detention of over 200 farmers from their homes, Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday issued a notice to the Haryana Government. The petitioner has also sought compensation for the illegally detained farmers.
Punjab and Haryana High Court bench of Justice Sant Prakash was hearing the habeas corpus petition filed by Haryana Progressive Farmers Union – Sabka Mangal Ho, seeking the release of all the farmer leaders and farmers. The petitioner alleged that over 200 farmers were detained in the midnight hours across the several districts of Haryana, ascertaining the agitation by farmers at Delhi Haryana borders.
The petitioner has moved the court for the illegal detention of farmers by Haryana police to sabotage the peaceful protest planned by the farmers’ organizations against the three contentious farm laws which are considered as anti-farmer.
The habeas corpus was filed by advocates Pardeep Kumar Rapria, Harinder Pal Singh, and Praveen Kumar. They have alleged that the Haryana police has raided farmers’ houses at unearthly hours between 1 AM and 3 AM.
After various failed attempts to resolve the matter with Central government representatives, several farmer organizations from different states of India have given a call to the ‘Delhi Chalo’ protest march against the controversial farm laws scheduling it on November 26 and 27.
The call giver for the protest march, All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), got support from over 500 farm outfits from across the country.
“The government wants to stifle the voice of people by arresting and detaining them under preventive measures. The innocent farmers were picked-up at midnight from their houses without any ground of arrest and without the commission of any offence, which is clearly in violation of Article 19, 21, and 22 of the Constitution of India,” the plea said.
The petition has raised the issue that the arrested persons had been sent to different jails and no information has been given to the relatives of the persons so arrested, which is mandatory in view of Article 22 of the Indian Constitution and Section 50-A of the CrPC, which requires the person making the arrest to inform about the arrest to the family members.
The plea also states, “The object of the Section 151 CrPC is to prevent to the commission of cognizable offence and person so arrested is not an offender but the arrest to prevent him from doing so in near future.”
“That the farmers’ agitation is proposed on dated: 26 and 27 November, in such situation one wonders how the Police has reached to the conclusion that at the detenues will commit offence and what offence will be committed. Even otherwise, the person so arrested under Section 151 CrPC. can not be detained in custody for period exceeding 24 hours unless required in some other case,” the plea states.
The petitioner has also mentioned that for the smooth and proper functioning of a democratic state, it is mandatory to allow space for dissenting views. The petition also states that no democracy can survive if the state will not allow its people to have dissenting views and to express its agony by protesting against the state policies in a peaceful manner.
The petition also states, “The police, in order to harass the people and with intention to arrest them, is raiding the houses during midnights. There is no justification in the raiding the house of any person, especially when he is not involved in any cognizable offence.”
Additional Advocate General, Deepak Sabharwal has accepted the notice on behalf of the Haryana Government and sought a short time to file the status report. The matter will again be heard today (November 26) by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
The situation has become extremely critical in the Haryana and Punjab border after Haryana has completely sealed its borders to prevent the farmers’ protest march to the National capital. Haryana police is using water cannons and tear gas to remove the farmers.