The Supreme Court on Tuesday suspended the implementation of the Centre’s three farm laws and appointed a four-member committee to resolve the deadlock between the government and the protesting farmers. The committee will include Bhupinder Singh Mann of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, Dr Pramod Kumar Joshi, Anil Ghanwat of Shetkari Sanghatana, and agricultural economist Ashok Gulati.
The Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice V. Ramasubramanian said they are concerned with laws. The top court in its order said the appointed committee should file the report within two months and the first sitting will be held within 10 days.
The farmers’ unions have said they won’t accept any committee and that they won’t appear before any committee to discuss the matters with them. The farmers argue that they won’t settle for less that complete withdrawal of the laws by the government. When informed about the farmers refusal of appearing before the committee, the bench said those genuinely interested in finding a solution would do so.
The All Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) issued a statement that said it is clear that the court is being misguided by various forces supporting farm laws. Even formation of the committee is manipulated by the same forces. The farmers said the people appointed to the committee have already welcomed the farm laws.
The ruling came on a batch of petitions challenging the validity of the three farm laws that were enacted by the government in September 2020. “This is not politics. There is a difference between politics and judiciary and farmers will have to cooperate,” the bench was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said that to form any committee, its credibility must be beyond any doubt. Members of this committee have already spoken so loudly in favour of the Modi government’s draconian farm laws. How can anyone trust this committee, he questioned.
The farmers from Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and across the country have been protesting at the Delhi borders against the Centre’s new farm laws since November 26, 2020. Despite bitter cold and rains, the farmers are not ready to step back. They have laid siege to Delhi even as the government scrambles to find an amicable solution. They argue that they would settle for nothing less than total scrapping of the legislations. The government has projected the laws as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove mandi system and middlemen and allow farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country. However, the protesting farmers have argued that the new laws have no mention of the continuance of minimum support price (MSP) and APMC mandis that will leave them at the mercy of big corporates.