Day after it took on Centre, SC order on farm legal guidelines shortly

Tribune News Service 

New Delhi, January 12

The Supreme Court will on Tuesday deliver its verdict on petitions challenging the validity of the three farm laws amid a deadlock between the government and the protesting farmers. 

Chief Justice SA Bobde is likely to pass orders in parts on the issues concerning farm laws and farmers” protest today. 

The Supreme Court on Monday rapped the Centre over the prolonged impasse with the protesting farmers demanding the repeal of the three new farm laws, saying it was “extremely disappointed” with the negotiation process, and also expressed its inclination to stay the implementation of the acts.

After some tough talk that the Centre has been given a “long rope” and “failed” to break the deadlock and not been “effective” in handling the stir, the court said it will pronounce orders on Tuesday on various issues related to the farm laws and the farmers’ ongoing stir at Delhi borders. It also proposed setting up a committee headed by a former Chief Justice of India (CJI) to find ways to resolve the impasse.

At a virtual hearing, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde questioned the Centre’s vehement opposition to its suggestion that the implementation of the farm laws enacted in September be kept on hold for the time being so as to help find an amicable solution.

The Centre and the farmer unions have held eight rounds of talks without any breakthrough while the protests by farmers at Delhi’s border points began on November 28. During the eighth round on January 7, the Centre had firmly ruled out repealing the contentious laws while the farmer leaders said they are ready to fight till death and their “ghar waapsi will happen only after law waapsi”.

The court also expressed apprehensions that the protests might lead to violence and loss of lives and property if it continues for long. “We don’t want anybody’s blood on our hands.” It asked the parties to suggest two-three names of former CJIs including R M Lodha who can head the apex court-appointed panel.

At the outset, the bench said, “What is going on? States are rebelling against your laws”.

The apex court, which was hearing a clutch of pleas challenging the new farm laws as well as the ones raising issues related to the ongoing agitation at Delhi borders, said it is not talking about the repeal of these farm laws at the moment.

Farmer leaders said they would continue their agitation even if the government or the Supreme Court stays the implementation of the new agri laws.

When Attorney General Venugopal told the court that the next meeting between the government and farmers is scheduled for January 15 and the court should not pass any order today, the bench said, “We do not think the Centre is handling the issue correctly. We have to take some action today.” He also contended that a law cannot be stayed unless the court finds it violates fundamental rights or constitutional schemes.

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