The Supreme Court of India on Tuesday suspended the implementation of the three farm laws until further notice, and set up a committee comprising experts to hear the parties and understand the ground situation.
When told 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 farmer unions reiterated that they will not participate in any court-ordered committee process. “It is clear that the Court is being misguided by various forces even in its constitution of a committee. These are people who are known for their support to the 3 Acts and have actively advocated for the same,” a statement issued by All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee said.
The ruling came on a batch of petitions challenging the validity of the three farm laws that were enacted last September. A detailed order is expected later today. “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.
The committee will comprise Bhupinder Singh Mann of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, Anil Ghanwat of Shetkari Sanghatana, Dr Pramod Kumar Joshi and agricultural economist Ashok Gulati. The SC also sought 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 it had information of Khalistanis in the protests, the Attorney General said he would file an affidavit with Intelligence Bureau records by Wednesday.
Further, the Supreme Court issued 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. Farmers, especially from Punjab and Haryana, have been camping at Delhi’s borders since November seeking repeal of the laws. The laws in contention are: Farmers (Empowerment & Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance & Farm Services Act 2020, Farmers Produce Trade & Commerce (Promotion & Facilitation) Act & Amendment to Essential Commodities Act.