Supreme Courtroom fumes over ‘biased’ tag for panel members

Satya Prakash
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 20

The Supreme Court on Wednesday took strong exception to casting of aspersions on a four-member committee appointed by it to talk to farmers agitating against farm laws even as it issued notice to the Centre on pleas seeking reconstitution of the panel after recusal by BKU leader BS Mann.

“If you don’t want to appear before the committee, we can’t compel you. But you can’t malign people like this and cast aspersions on them and the court. Why do you need to brand people like this? How can you play with people’s reputation like this? We have serious objections to them being called biased,” a Bench headed by CJI SA Bobde said.

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave and advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing farmers’ unions, told the Bench that the unions were not interested in making any representation to the court-appointed panel as they wanted the farm laws repealed.

The Bench, which issued notice to the government on applications filed by BKU (Lokshakti) and others for reconstitution of the panel, posted the matter for further hearing after two weeks.

While staying the three farm laws, the top court had appointed a four-member panel to talk to farmers to end the stalemate over the legislations. But farmer leaders objected to the names of committee members, saying the panel members had already expressed their “pro-farm law” views. Beside Mann, the other members of the committee were Pramod Kumar Joshi (Director, South Asia international Food Policy), agricultural economist Ashok Gulati and Shetkari Sanghatana leader Anil Ghanwat.

“We have serious objections that members of the committee are criticised and called names,” the CJI said.

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