The Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued notice to the Haryana government in a habeas corpus petition filed seeking release of over 100 farmers detained at midnight as they were march towards Delhi as part of a farmers’ agitation.
Haryana Progressive Farmers Union filed the habeas corpus petition which was heard by a bench of Justice Sant Prakash. These farmers 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, reported LiveLaw.
The petition states that the houses of farmers’ leaders were raided at unearthly hours between 1am and 3am on November 25 and in these illegal midnight raids, the leaders were taken in custody, mainly to “sabotage the peaceful protest planned by the farmers’ organisations against the three contentious farm laws – viewed as antifarmer.”
The Plea further states, “the government wants to stie 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 also raises questions of law and states that the families of those arrested have not been informed about the whereabouts of such persons as mandated section 50-A of the Cr. P.C as well as Article 22 of the Constitution.
The plea also argues that for smooth functioning of a democratic state, the government should allow space to dissenting voices and express their agony in a peaceful manner.
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 stated in its order, “By way of filing the present criminal writ petition, the petitioner which claims 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 enumerated in annexed list Annexure P-2 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.”
Additional Advocate General, Deepak Sabharwal, accepted the notice of motion on behalf of Haryana state government and requested for short time to file status report.
The court will hear the petition again today, November 26.
Several farmers groups from across the country are joining the ‘Delhi Chalo’ movement and marching towards the capital. Farmers in large numbers from Punjab and Haryana, on their tractors and on foot had started marching towards Delhi on November 25 morning and some hundreds of these farmers have been detained by the Police at various locations.
The high court order may be read here.