The Supreme Court on Monday said that it will stay the new agriculture laws enacted recently if the government is not willing to keep them in abeyance till it reaches a consensus with the protesting farmers.
“..We are disappointed in the way you’re handling this situation,” Chief Justice S A Bobde told Attorney General K K Venugopal, while hearing a bunch of petitions against the law and farmers protest.
The apex court asked the Centre to stay the laws till a committee constituted by it discusses the same and submits a report. “We are proposing to form a committee. If the Centre is not putting the implementation of farm laws on hold on its own, we will do it,” said a bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bhobde.
The court also said that there is fear of loss of life and property. “Maintaining law and order rests with Police, not us. I will advise women, children and senior citizens to go back,” the CJI said.
Earlier, the bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, had said, “Some people have committed suicide, old people and women are part of the agitation. What is happening?” The bench added that not a single plea has been filed that said that the “farm laws are good.”
“We suggest, after implementation of farm laws is stayed, you continue the protest but decide if you want to move to some other place. Someday intentionally or unintentionally, this might breach peace. We don’t want any injuries or blood on our hands,” the CJI said.
“We hear from the newspapers that the government wants to discuss clause by clause and the farmers want it to be repealed. We will stay the implementation of the laws and ask the committee to look into it,” the bench said.
Addressing the farmers, the Chief Justice sought an assurance from them that the protest wouldn’t be continued. “Whether you have faith in us or not, we are the Supreme Court of India and we will do our job,” the bench said.
When Venugopal mentioned about the protest against Haryana Chief Minister’s rally on Sunday, the Bench said: “We are not saying we will protect law-breakers.”
Pleading for farmers, senior advocate Dushyant Dave told the top court the proposed tractor rally by farmers on Republic Day will not happen.
Talks between the Centre and farmer unions on the new agriculture laws failed to make any headway even after the eighth round of talks. The Centre and the farmer leaders are scheduled to hold their next meeting on January 15.