- Appoints a 4-member committee
- Asks farmers to drop plan to organize tractor rally on Jan 26
New Delhi: The three contentious farm laws against which a massive farmers’ protest movement has been going on for more than forty days have been put on the hold by Supreme Court of India on Tuesday. These laws were enacted in September 2020 amidst the pandemic. There was criticism at the hurried way the bills were approved in Rajya Sabha without voting and without referring the bills to select committee as demanded by the entire opposition. The government, however, argued that there were deliberations on the bills for more than two decades. One lawyer on behalf of the government even alleged that Khalistani elements have infiltrated the protest movement.
The Supreme Court has appointed a four-member committee comprising 1. Bhupender Singh Mann, BKU, 2. Anil Ghanwant of Shetkari Sanghatana, Ashok Gulati, Agriculturral scientist and 4. Pramod K Joshi of International Food policy Research Institute. This committee will hold talks with various farmers organizations and others.
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“We are staying three farm laws until further orders,” Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said. The government had firmly ruled out suspending, withdrawing or annulling the laws. “These are matters of life and death. We are concerned with laws. We are concerned with lives and property of the people affected by the agitation. We are trying to solve the problem in the best way. One of the powers we have is to suspend the legislation,” Justice Bobde said.
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“We want to solve the problem and that’s why we are making the committee. Give the names to us, we will decide,” the chief justice told the government through its lawyers. Former chief justice of india RM Lodha is understood to have refused to head the committee. The court has issued notice to farmers’ unions on a request by the Delhi police to stop a tractor rally scheduled for January 26, the Republic Day.
At one stage the judges rebuked advocate ML Sharma, representing the farmers, when he said the farmers would not meet the committee to be appointed by the SC since the prime minister has not met them so far. “This is not politics. There is a difference between politics and judiciary and you will have to cooperate,” the chief justice has firmly said.