SC stays implementation of new farm laws, sets up panel to resolve impasse

The Bench lauded the farmers for carrying out their agitation against the farm laws peacefully.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the implementation of the three agriculture Acts till further orders and constituted a four-member committee to resolve the impasse over the laws between the Centre and protesting farmers.

This has, however, not enthused the farmers.

The committee the court appointed comprises Ashok Gulati, an agricultural economist; Pramod Kumar Joshi, former director (South Asia), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); Bhupinder Singh Mann, national president of the Bhartiya Kisan Union and All India Kisan Coordination Committee; and Anil Ghanwat, president of the Shetkari Sanghatana.

The farmers’ unions, while welcoming the suspension of the implementation of the Acts, said it was not a solution that they had been asking for, because the laws could be reinstated anytime.

They also rejected the constitution of the committee because in their view the people on it were known for their support to the three Acts.

The Bench, headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde and comprising Justice S Bopanna and Justice V Ramasubramanian, meanwhile, said the committee would hear the government as well as the representatives of the farmers and other stakeholders and submit a report with its recommendations before it (court) within two months of the date of its first sitting in New Delhi.

In its interim order, the court said the committee would hold its firstsitting within 10 days.

This committee is “constituted for the purpose of listening to the grievances of the farmers relating to the farm laws and the views of the government and to make recommendations”, it said.

“The implementation of the three farm laws -- Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, and Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act-- will stand stayed until further orders,” it said.

The Bench said it deemed fit to pass the interim order “with the hope and expectation that both parties will take this in the right spirit and attempt to arrive at a fair, equitable and just solution to the problems”.

The Bench lauded the farmers for carrying out their agitation against the farm laws peacefully.

“While we may not stifle a peaceful protest, we think that this extraordinary order of stay of implementation of the farm laws will be perceived as an achievement of the purpose of such protest at least for the present and will encourage the farmers bodies to convince their members to get back to their livelihood, both in order to protect their own lives and health and in order to protect the lives and properties of others,” the Bench said and posted the matter for further hearing after eight weeks.

The court passed the interim order on a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of these farm laws and also raising the issue of farmers protesting at Delhi’s borders.

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