The Punjab and Haryana High Court on 25th November issued notice to the Haryana Government in a habeas corpus petition filed by an advocacy group formed by farmers from various parts of Haryana for the welfare of the farmers, seeking the release of over 100 detained farmers who were allegedly detained at midnight ahead of the proposed farmers’ agitation in Delhi.
Petitioner ‘Haryana Progressive Farmers Union – Sabka Mangal Ho’, prayed for direction to release over 100 detained farmers and other persons, who were allegedly picked-up at midnight by Police across several districts of Haryana, on the pretext of proposed agitation by farmers at Delhi against the state policies.
Petition Filed Agianst illegal Custody of Farmers
The petition for detained farmers has been filed in response to the alleged “illegal midnight raids and illegal custody of farmers, by Haryana Police to sabotage the peaceful protest planned by the farmers’ organisations against the three contentious farm laws – viewed as anti-farmer.”.
Filed through Advocates Pardeep Kumar Rapria, Harinder Pal Singh & Parveen Kumar, the plea for detained farmers states that the houses of detained farmers’ leaders were raided at unearthly hours between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m.
The Petition submits before the Court that various farmer organisation from different States have given the call ‘Delhi Chalo’ for November 26 and 27, to march towards Delhi to continue their protest against the three contentious farm laws – viewed as anti-farmer – after several rounds of failed talks with representatives of the central government.
The Petition also states that at least 500 farm outfits from across the country have extended the support to “Delhi Chalo” call by All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) under which agitating farmers will reach the National Capital on November 26-27 to press the central government to scrap the contentious legislations.
However, the Plea states, “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 commission of any offence, which is clearly in violation of the Article 19, 21 and 22 of the Constitution of India.“
The plea further states that none of the persons were arrested after observing the safeguards directed by DK Basu’s case and given statutory recognition now.
According to the plea, the estimated numbers of illegally picked persons by Police are more than 200 persons throughout the State including 100 detained farmers, though, the plea also states that the state can reveal the exact figures.
* The arrested persons had been sent to different jails and even no information has been given to the relatives of the persons so arrested, which is mandatory in view of article 22 of the Constitution of India and section 50-A of the Cr. P.C.; which requires the person making arrest to inform about the arrest to the family members.
* The object of the section 151 Cr. P.C. 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 the detenues will commit offence and what offence will be committed. Even otherwise, the person so arrested under section 151 Cr. P.C. can not be detained in custody for a period exceeding 24 hours unless required in some other case.
The petition also states that for the smooth functioning of democratic state, it is very much required that the state power should allow the space to dissenting views.
It submits that no democracy can survive if the state will not allow its people to have dissenting view and to express its agony by protesting against the state policy in peaceful manner and sometimes it may have to restrain itself, even in adverse conditions highlighting case of detained farmers.
The plea also states.
“That 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.”
The Court, in its order, has noted that by way of filing the instant criminal writ petition, the petitioner for detained farmers, claiming itself to be an advocacy group formed by farmers from various parts of Haryana for the welfare of the farmers, “has sought the issuance of a writ in the nature of habeas corpus seeking direction to the respondents to release the detenues alleging that they have been illegally detained without any ground of arrest and without any commission of offence by them, in clear violation of Articles 19, 21 and 22 of the Constitution of India.“
The Court issued notice and Additional Advocate General, Haryana accepted the notice on behalf of the respondents. He requested for a short accommodation to file the status report.
The matter of detained farmers has now been posted for further hearing on Thursday (26th November).