SC stays implementation of 3 farm laws

SC stays implementation of 3 farm laws
Farmer supporters take part in the ongoing agitation against at Singhu border in Delhi, Tuesday.
NEW DELHI, JAN 12 | Publish Date: 1/12/2021 12:06:44 PM IST

 Forms 4-member committee to resolve impasse

Supreme Court Tuesday stayed the implementation of controversial new farm laws till further orders and decided to set up a 4-member committee to resolve the impasse over them between the Centre and farmers’ unions protesting at Delhi borders.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justice AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian said that it will pass an order to this effect.  
The top court stayed the implementation of the three  laws -- the Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act -- against which several petitions have been filed challenging their constitutional validity.
The bench which read out four names of members of the committee said that it will look into the farmers’ grievances on the issue.
The four names of members include Bhupinder Singh Mann, President of Bhartiya Kisan Union; Anil Ghanwat, President of Shetkeri Sangthana, Maharashtra; Pramod Kumar Joshi, director for South Asia, International Food Policy Research Institute, and agriculture economist Ashok Gulati.
During the hearing, the top court sought the cooperation of the protesting farmers and made it clear that no power can prevent it from setting up a committee to resolve the impasse over the controversial farm laws. The observation of the bench asking protesting farmers’ unions to cooperate assumes significance in view of reports that they would not go to any apex court-appointed panel for resolution of the dispute and wanted the laws to be repealed.
Before pronouncing the order, the Supreme Court bench commenced the hearing and asked the farmers’ unions to cooperate and go before the committee to be appointed by it to resolve the dispute.
“We are concerned about protecting the lives and property of citizens of India and we want to solve the problem,” said the bench.
In the proceedings, conducted through video conferencing, it reiterated that the apex court has powers to suspend the legislation in order to solve the problem.
The bench said those who “genuinely want resolution, will go to the committee” on farm laws.
“This is not politics. There is a difference between politics and judiciary and you will have to cooperate”, it said to farmer unions.
When the bench was informed that an application has been filed before it alleging that a banned organisation is extending support to the agitating farmers, the top court asked attorney general K K Venugopal about it.
Venugopal told the bench that ‘Khalistanis’ have infiltrated into the ongoing farmers’ protest to which the bench asked him to file an affidavit in this regard. The top law officer said that he will do so by Wednesday.
The top court also issued notice on a separate application filed by the Centre through Delhi police seeking an injunction against the proposed tractor or trolley march or any other kind of protest which seeks to disrupt the gathering and celebrations of the Republic Day on January 26.
In the application, the Centre has said that it has come to the knowledge of the security agencies that a small group of protesting individuals or organisations have planned to carry out a tractor march on the Republic Day.
On Monday, the apex court had pulled up the Centre for its handling of the farmers’ protest against the new farm laws saying it is “extremely disappointed” with the way negotiations between them were going and it will constitute a committee headed by a former Chief Justice of India to resolve the impasse.
Farmers reject SC panel; say members are ‘pro-govt’
Protesting farmer unions Tuesday made it clear that they will not call off their agitation until the three farm laws are repealed, while raising doubts over the neutrality of the four-member panel set up by the Supreme Court to resolve the deadlock over.
While the farm unions welcomed the top court’s order to stay the implementation of agri laws, they asserted they will not appear before the committee as, according to them, its members were “pro-government”. 
“We don’t accept this committee, all the members in this committee have been pro-government and these members have been justifying the laws,” said Punjab farmers’ unions, declaring that they would amp up their protests across the country.
Addressing a press conference at Singhu Border here, farmer leader Balbeer Singh Rajewal said that farmers never demanded the Supreme Court form a committee to resolve the impasse, alleging the Central government is behind this development.
“The members of the SC-appointed committee are not dependable as they have been writing on how agri laws are pro-farmer. We will continue our agitation,” Rajewal told the presser after a meeting of 32 farmer unions from Punjab. “We are against any committee on principle. It is the government’s way to distract attention from the protest,” he said, adding that farmers will go ahead with their proposed January 26 “Kisan Parade” that will be moved into the national capital.
AIKSCC said in a statement, “It is clear that the court is being misguided by various forces even in its constitution of a committee. These are people who are known for their support to the 3 Acts and have actively advocated for the same.” On Wednesday, Sankyukt Kisan Morcha, which represents around 40 unions, will hold a meeting to discuss the next course of action.

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