In a big blow to the government, the Supreme Court on Tuesday put on hold the three farm laws until further order and formed a committee of experts to resolve the impasse.
“We are going to suspend the implementation of the three farm laws until further orders,” said Chief Justice of India SA Bobde. “Secondly, there will be a committee to hold talks,” he said. Agricultural economists Ashok Gulati, Harsimrat Mann, and Pramod Joshi are among some of the names he mentioned as members of the committee, according to Livelaw.
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Further, the top court sought cooperation of the farmers protesting at Delhi borders, which assumes significance in view of reports that they would not go to any apex court-appointed panel for resolution of disputes and wanted repeal of laws only.
Before pronouncing the order, the bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde commenced the hearing and urged 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 top court bench which also comprised Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian. In the proceedings conducted through video conferencing, it said no power can prevent us from making committee to resolve the impasse and reiterated 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. It highlighted the difference between judiciary and the politics and asked the farmers to cooperate with it. “This is not politics. There is a difference between politics and judiciary and you will have to cooperate,” it said to farmer unions.
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 panel headed by a former Chief Justice of India to resolve the impasse.
Farmers have been protesting at several borders of Delhi since November against the three farm reforms which they claim will favour the corporates and result in abolition of Minimum Support Price (MSP), a safety net system guaranteed by the government.
(With inputs from agencies)