Apex court puts three farm laws on hold, forms panel for talks

Farmers protest rattles the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Farmers protest rattles the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Agitating farmer unions Tuesday disapproved of the committee appointed by the Supreme Court to break the deadlock over the acts and said they will continue their protest against the three legislations. The Supreme Court had said in ruling on the validity of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Regulation Act, 2003, "In matters involving the constitutionality of any legislation enacted by the legislature and rules, courts should be extremely loath to pass an interim order.At the time of final adjudication, the court can strike down the statute if found ultra vires of the Constitution".

NCP president Sharad Pawar welcomed the top court's decision to stay the implementation of three farm laws and set up of a panel to resolve the impasse.

The court is likely to pronounce orders on Tuesday on issues related to the farm laws and the farmers' protests at Delhi's borders and may take a call on setting up a committee headed by a former Chief Justice of India to find ways to resolve the impasse. Seeking the cooperation of farmer unions, the Chief Justice said: "members (farmer unions) are expected to show some loyalty to the judicial system". The bench also said those who "genuinely want resolution, will go to the committee" on farm laws.

When SC suggested it can put a stay on laws' implementation, the Centre's representative said it can set the wrong example. The members of the committee are Bhupender Singh Mann, BKU, Anil Ghanwant of Shetkari Sanghatana, Ashok Gulati, Agricultural Scientist, Pramod K Joshi of International Food Policy Research Institute. "We are demanding that the government repeal the three laws and also make a law to guarantee Minimum Support Price (MSP) for our produce".

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Ghanwant, according to a report by Indian Express, had said that his union will also press for "further freedom" for the farm sector.

AgenciesThe committee formed by the SC will look into the farmers' grievances against the three laws.

Yesterday the Chief Justice expressed his anguish at the manner in which the Central Government was handling the farmers' protest.

Meanwhile, several rounds of talks with the government have failed. "There is an application before us which says that there is a banned organisation which is helping this protest".

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"But our fight will continue till the laws are repealed and we will not go home till then", he asserted. "This has given out a message to the people of India who are watching "Godi media" channels that the laws are not in our favour and, hence, even the apex court had to step in to put a stay on their implementation", said Amrish Singh, from Punjab's Fatehgarh Sahib, who has been protesting at the Singhu Border since 26 November.

In a detailed hearing, which lasted close to two hours, on Monday, Chief Justice Bobde repeatedly questioned the Centre's counsel - Attorney General K.K. Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta - why are they insisting on the implementation of the law.

In the proceedings conducted through video conferencing, it said no power can prevent us from making committee to resolve the impasse on new farm laws.

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