Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 12
A day after pulling up the Centre for its poor handling of farmers’ agitation, the Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the implementation of the three farm laws being opposed by farmers who have blocked key entry points to Delhi since November 2020.
While staying the implementation of the Farmers (Empowerment & Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance & Farm Services Act 2020, Farmers Produce Trade & Commerce (Promotion & Facilitation) Act & Amendment to Essential Commodities Act, a Bench headed by CJI SA Bobde set up a four-member committee to hear the stakeholders and report back to it.
Those names members of the committee are – National President of Bharatiya Kisan Union Bhupinder Singh Mann, Pramod Kumar Joshi (Director South Asia international Food Policy), Agricultural Economist Ashok Gulati and Shetkari Sanghatana leader Anil Ghanwat.
“We are going to suspend the implementation of the three farm laws until further orders,” the top court said while setting up the committee.
A detailed order will be released later on the court’s website.
“We believe in the Committee and we are going to constitute it. This Committee will be the part of judicial proceedings”, it said, adding it did not want to hear that farmers were unwilling to go to the Committee.
“We are looking to solve the problem. If you want to agitate indefinitely, you can. Every person who is genuinely interested in solving the problem is expected to go before the Committee. The Committee will not punish you or pass any orders. It will submit a report to us. We are going to take the opinion of the organisations. We are forming the Committee so that we have a clearer picture,” the CJI said.
The Bench it shall protect farmers’ land, but the farmers should agree to participate in the proceedings before the committee.
“We are concerned about only the validity of the laws and also about protecting the life and property of citizens affected by protests. We are trying to solve the problem in accordance with the powers we have,” it said.
The Bench turned down farmers’ demand that the Prime Minister himself should approach them to hold negotiations.
“We cannot ask the Prime Minister… He is not a party here,” the CJI said even as Government side told the court that the Agriculture Minister had been a part of the negotiations.
Pulling up the government for poor handling of farmers’ agitation against farm laws, the Supreme Court had on Monday made it clear that intended to stay the implementation of the contentious laws and set up a committee to find an amicable solution to the problem.
“We are extremely disappointed with the way the government is handling the issue. Last four times you said negotiations are on. What negotiations are you talking about? If you have some sense of responsibility, and if you say you will withhold the implementation of laws, we will form a committee to decide,” a three-judge Bench headed CJI Bobde had told Attorney General KK Venugopal.