“You cannot sit in protest for years”: CJI Bobde after Harish Salve blames farmers for potential price rise; Chidambaram objects to use of ‘mob’ for farmers by CJI


Chief Justice of India SA Bobde on Thursday said that while farmers had the right to protest, their protests could not go on for years. CJI Bobde made the observation after Harish Salve made desperate arguments, blaming farmers for the price rise in India’s national capital.

Representing one of the petitioners against the farmers’ protest, Salve said, “There is a fundamental right to protest. But that has to be balanced with other fundamental rights. The price rise will lead to irreparable loss.” He added that ‘fundamental right to protest cannot extend to holding a city to ransom.’

P Chidambaram, who was representing the state of Punjab, told the court, “I have serious serious reservations with what Mr. Salve articulated on what can be done in a democracy. I hope your lordships will not go into those issues.”

Chidambaram, according to Livelaw, added, “Farmers have not blocked the roads. Farmers wanted to march to Delhi. Who has stopped them and blocked them? The police has blocked them. We see photos of barricades, containers.”

This prompted CJI Bobde to clarify that it was ‘not for the court to predict if the mob will turn violent.’ “It depends on intelligence reports based on which the police acts. Whether the mob should be allowed to enter arrest must be left to the authorities to decide and not for the court to decide,” the CJI continued.

However, Chidambaram corrected the CJI on the use of mob for protesting farmers saying that ‘ t is not a mob but a group of farmers.’ The CJI clarified, “We did not use the term in a pejorative sense.”

CJI Bobde said, “You have a right to protest which we are not going to interfere with. You carry on the protest. The purpose of protest must be served to talking to someone. You cannot sit in protest for years.”

The top court said that a different bench of the Supreme Court may hear the matter during the winter vacation. The court also asked the government lawyers if it was possible to put the implementation of the three farm laws on hold until its verdict. While the Attorney General said that he will take instructions from the government, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that this will be tough, prompting CJI Bobde to admonish him by saying, “If the AG is saying he will get back, why are you preempting.”

The court has also proposed setting up of a committee, which can submit its recommendations to end the farmers’ protest by speaking to all stakeholders.

Tens of thousands of farmers have been protesting at the Delhi-Haryana border for 23 days after they were not allowed to enter Delhi. They are demanding the withdrawal of three farm laws passed by the government allegedly to help its businessman friends such as Adani and Ambani. The government has denied these allegations with Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying that the reform in the agriculture sector will benefit farmers.


  1. What is the total value of food or commercial crops produced in one year in all the states of India? Do Ambani or Advani have the capacity to purchase the same besides their normal commitments in thier business activities?
    It has become a fashion for Congress to link any reform of NDA to A and A.


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