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SC to stay 3 farm laws; order Today

SC to stay 3 farm laws; order Today
Farmers during their ongoing agitation against new farm laws, at Ghazipur border, in New Delhi, Monday.
New Delhi, Jan 11 (IANS) | Publish Date: 1/11/2021 11:56:34 AM IST

The Supreme Court on Tuesday will pronounce its order on a bunch of petitions opposing the three farm laws and also the petitions seeking removal of the protesters from various Delhi borders.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S. A. Bobde and comprising Justices A. S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian said: “List these matters tomorrow i.e. 12.01.2021, for orders.”

In a detailed hearing, which lasted close to two hours, on Monday, Chief Justice Bobde repeatedly questioned the Centre’s counsel - Attorney General K.K. Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta - why are they insisting on the implementation of the law. “We are not experts on economy... you tell us whether you are going to hold these laws or should we do it,” the bench told the Centre. The Chief Justice categorically cited the Centre hasn’t communicated to it on the proposal to keep the implementation of these laws at abeyance for some time. The AG argued that the laws cannot be stayed unless they violate the constitutional schemes or fundamental rights, and this needs a detailed hearing. “Can be stayed if the government had no legislative competence, but that is not the case here,” he argued.

The Chief Justice replied the Union of India has failed to take responsibility and the laws have resulted in a strike. As the AG reiterated laws cannot be stayed, the bench replied the Centre has failed to stop the agitation and the problem continues to remain unresolved.

The top court observed the talks between farmers and the Centre have failed to make any headway, as the former wants laws to be repealed and the latter wants point by point discussion. Citing its stay on the Maharashtra law granting reservation to Marathas in education in job and education, the bench, however, said it is against the stay on any laws.

Reiterating its earlier proposal to constitute a court-appointed committee, which could be headed by a former Chief Justice of India to resolve the impasse, the top court asked the parties to suggest two-three names of former Chief Justices including former Chief Justice R.M. Lodha who can head this panel.

Chief Justice Bobde disclosed that he had asked former Chief Justice P. Sathasivam but he was disinclined since he doesn’t understand Hindi.

We don’t want anybody’s blood on our hands, says SC

“We don’t want anybody’s blood on our hands,” said the Supreme Court on Monday while expressing apprehension that the ongoing farmers’ protest against the new farm laws might lead to violence and loss of lives and property if it continues for long.

The apex court, which observed that the Centre has made these laws “without enough consultation”, said the most serious concern is about any sort of violence and possible loss of lives.

 “Responsibility is on all of us. Any stray incident can spark violence,” said a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde.

 “Each one of us will be responsible if something goes wrong. We don’t want anybody’s blood on our hands,” said the bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.

The bench said it is not going to protect any “law breakers” and want to prevent any loss of lives and property.

The top court, which was hearing a batch of petitions challenging the new farm laws as well as the ones raising issues related to the ongoing agitation at Delhi borders, expressed its displeasure that the Centre has not been able to solve the problem. “We are extremely disappointed with the negotiation process,” the bench said, adding, “You have made a law without enough consultation resulting in a strike. So you have to resolve the strike.”

During the hearing conducted through video-conferencing, the top court questioned the Centre over the consultative process adopted for these laws.

“We don’t know what consultative process you have followed before these laws. Many states are up in rebellion,” the bench said.

Observing that there is not a single petition before the apex court which says that these farm laws are beneficial, the bench told the Centre, “It will not help you to say that this was started by last government. We are discussing constitutionality.”

The apex court, while pulling up the Centre for its handling of farmers protest against the farm laws, said it will constitute a committee headed by a former Chief Justice of India to resolve the impasse.

It said that former CJI R M Lodha could be asked about whether he is willing to head the committee.

The bench told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that he can also suggest two-three names of former CJIs who can head the court-appointed committee.

 “We have talked to former CJI P Sathasivam but he refused saying he has problem in understanding Hindi,” the bench said.

Mehta told the bench that representatives of some farmer unions, who were coming for discussion with the government, used to turn their chairs back or cover their eyes and ears when the ministers sat for meeting.

The bench said “we can’t say anything on this.” 

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