Chandigarh, June 7, 2023- With the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s directive, motorists on the Chandigarh-Delhi highway may not face blockades by protesters.
Saying the National Highway-44 connecting Chandigarh with the national capital as lifeline connecting the country’s length and breadth, the High Court acted tough on Tuesday and directed Haryana and other respondents to ensure “it is kept open for free flow and movement of the traffic without any hindrance so that the public at large is not put to any kind of inconvenience”.
“This direction shall be given effect forthwith, without any further delay. However, at the same time, it is made clear that the administration shall exercise utmost restraint and would use force to disperse the mob collected at the spot, only as a last resort,” a bench of Justices Manjari Nehru Kaul and Manisha Batra observed.
The bench was hearing an application filed against Haryana and other respondents by Randeep Tanwar, who was seeking issuance of directions to stop a “mob of people from gathering on the National Highway-44 at the behest of respondents, comprising the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU).
Fixing the matter for next hearing on June 13, the Bench directed the Chief Secretary of Haryana to submit a report on steps taken in pursuance to the directions passed by the High Court on the issue in September 2022. It also sought a status report in the matter.
Interestingly, the High Court’s Tuesday directive coincided with a large number of farmers gathered on the National Highway-44 at Shahabad near Kurukshetra, protesting against the Haryana government for not buying their sunflower seeds on the minimum support price (MSP).
They were later baton-charged by police to clear the blockade.
The police also used water cannons to disperse the crowd.
In the High Court, the petitioner played a video recording of news channels showing the protests by the farmers led by the BKU. (Agency)