The Supreme Court on Tuesday afternoon ordered an interim stay on the implementation of the three farm laws, and set up a committee comprising experts to facilitate talks between the central government and farmer unions to resolve the impasse. The order has come as a setback to the Central government as it had consistently maintained the stand that the new laws would not be repealed.
When the court was told that the farmer unions were not willing to appear before the committee, the bench said those “genuinely” interested in finding a solution would do so.
The ruling came on a batch of petitions challenging the validity of the three farm laws that were enacted last September.
“This is not politics. There is a difference between politics and judiciary and you will have to cooperate,” the bench, headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde and comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, was quoted as saying.
Soon after the verdict, the Shiromani Akali Dal in Punjab has called an emergency meeting to discuss the future course of action.
Congress leader Rajeev Satav tweeted: “Hailing the #SupremeCourt for putting a stay on the implementation of the anti-farmer laws of the Modi govt. It’s about time proper consultation is done and farmer’s concerns are heard. One man’s ego cannot be larger than crores of #farmers and their families.”
Senior advocates Dushyant Dave, H S Phoolka and Colin Gonsalves, who represent 400 farmers’ bodies, did not join Tuesday’s SC’s proceedings. They were supposed to consult the farmers on formation of a committee and come back, said Harish Salve who was appearing for law students who want the protesting farmers removed.
“Staying implementation of the laws shouldn’t be seen as a political victory. It should be seen as a serious examination of concerns expressed over the legislations,” added Salve.
Meanwhile, the apex court also sought a response from the Centre on whether a banned organisation had infiltrated the farmers’ protests. The direction came after P S Narasimha, who represented a petitioner supporting the farm laws, claimed members of ‘Sikhs for Justice’ were helping the protests. Saying Khalistanis were part of the protests, the Attorney General said he would file an affidavit with Intelligence Bureau records by Wednesday.
Further, the top court issued a notice on the Delhi Police petition seeking to stop the tractor rally planned by farmers on Republic Day.
The Centre and farmer unions have engaged in eight rounds of talks so far, but failed to break the impasse. Their next meeting is scheduled on January 15.