Indias Supreme Court orders stay on new farm laws that angered farmers

Wednesday, 13 Jan, 2021

The Supreme Court has time and again rapped Centre over farmer suicides, and to end them reforms are necessary, Mr Ghanwat added.

In addition to slamming the committee, farmers also said that they were of the belief that the apex court's decision to stay the proceedings were "welcome but not a solution".

Tuesday's order is an attempt at breaking the deadlock between protesting farmers seeking scrapping of the laws and the Narendra Modi administration, which has refused to back down.

The eighth round of talks between the Centre and the farmer unions on January 7 appeared heading nowhere as the Centre ruled out repealing the contentious laws while the farmer leaders said they are ready to fight till death and their "ghar waapsi" will happen only after "law waapsi". This has been a major thorn in the discussions between the farmer leaders and the government.

He believes there has been "a gross communication failure on the part of the central government to explain to farmers what these laws are, and how they are meant to benefit them", and that detractors of PM Modi have exploited this gap to mislead the protesting farmers. The top court has not yet considered all aspects related to the petitions filed before it, and therefore, it can not pass a final judgment on the matter.

However, the court noted Attorney General KK Venugopal's "support" of a "specific averment" by the Indian Kisan Union that an organisation, Sikhs for Justice, banned for anti-India secessionist movement, is financing the agitation. "I thank the SC for staying the implementation of the laws".

The agitating farmers were not happy with the judgment but said they are awaiting a copy of the court's order before deciding on their future course of action. We are concerned with laws. "We are sorry to say that Centre has not been able to solve the problem and the farmers' agitation". However, several past judgments by the higher judiciary have affirmed the precedent that courts should be very cautious while passing interim orders to stay laws passed by the Legislature. The committee would comprise of H S Mann, Pramod Kumar Joshi, Ashok Gulati and Anil Dhanwant. A detailed verdict will be out later today.

Farmer leader Balbeer Singh Rajewal said from Singhu that the committee was a method of "distracting" farmers from the protest.

"Each one of us will be responsible if anything goes wrong. He is not a party here", responded CJI Bobde.

The Supreme Court's ruling came a day after it heard petitions filed by the farmers challenging the controversial legislation.

He suggested that they can stage the agitation at Ramleela Maidan or even the Boat Club Area. "We can not ask the PM anything, he is not a party before us", said Bobde.

Defending the virtual hearing, CJI Bobde said closure of courts was important due to pandemic, or number of fatalities would increase.

It requested the top court to restrain anyone from conducting any protest march either in the form of tractor march, trolley march, vehicle march or any other mode by entering into the National Capital Region Territory of Delhi.