SC stays implementation, farmers firm on repeal

Supreme Court said on Tuesday that it will form a committee to understand the ground situation.

Credit : Deccan Herald

Suspending the implementation of the three controversial farm laws, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday that it will form a committee to understand the ground situation and take over the negotiations between farmers’ unions and the Central Government. However, the farmers have been firm on their demand for repeal. The apex court was hearing petitions that challenged the validity of these farm laws that were enacted last September. The bench, headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde and comprising Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, said that the court also has the power to suspend the three laws.

“These are matters of life and death. We are concerned with laws. We are concerned with the lives and property of people affected by the agitation. We are trying to solve the problem in the best way. One of the powers we have is to suspend the legislation," Chief Justice SA Bobde said as per an NDTV report. "We want to solve the problem and that's why we are making the committee. Give the names to us, we will decide," he added.

In response, the farmers’ unions have said that they don't want a committee, and instead want the three laws to be repealed. "While all organisations welcome the suggestions of the Hon'ble Supreme Court to stay the implementation of the farm laws, they are collectively and individually not willing to participate in any proceedings before a committee that may be appointed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court," the Samyukta Kisan Morcha said in a press note yesterday.

The bench has stated that those who are “genuinely” interested in finding a solution would appear before the said committee. After ML Sharma, the lawyer for protesting farmers, said that the farmers won’t participate in the committee as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has refused to talk to them, Bobde said, "We cannot ask the PM anything, he is not a party before us.”

Yesterday, the apex court had expressed its “disappointment” over the government’s handling of the farmers’ protests. It had also questioned the process behind the enactment of the farm laws.

The protesting farmers, who are currently camping at the Delhi borders, have declared a protest march and tractor rally in the national capital on Republic Day. But the top court has issued a notice to farmers' unions on a Delhi Police plea to stop the tractor rally during the January 26th Republic Day parade.

The government, and the protesting farmers and farmers’ unions, have had eight rounds of talks till now where the farmers have repeatedly stated that they want the three laws to be repealed. However, the government has been consistent with its statement saying that while the laws won’t be repealed, they are still open to amendments. The next meeting between the centre and the farmers will be held on January 15th.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has formed a four-member committee which will submit a report before the apex court on the farm laws. The members of the committee are Bhupender Singh Mann, President of Bharatiya Kisan Union, Anil Ghanwant, President of Shetkari Sanghatana, Ashok Gulati, an agricultural scientist and Pramod K Joshi, Director for South Asia, International Food Policy Research Institute.

The story has been updated for further developments at 15:40.