SC suspends implementation of three farm laws, forms expert panel

New Delhi, The Supreme Court on Tuesday suspended the implementation of three farm laws until further orders and constituted a four-member committee to understand the ground situation and get a clear picture about the laws.

After hearing a batch of pleas challenging the newly enacted agriculture reform laws, a three-Judge Bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde and comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramaniam said, “We are going to suspend the implementation of the three farm laws until further orders… there will be a committee to hold talks.”

On Monday, the Apex Court had expressed displeasure over Centre’s way of dealing with the farm protests. “We are extremely disappointed with the way Centre is dealing with this,” the Court had averred and asked the government, if it would suspend implementation of the three farm laws or the court should step in.

Today, senior counsel ML Sharma, representing the farmers’ unions, submitted that the real facts about farmers could not be placed before the court on Monday, saying the peasants are not willing to appear before any committee.

“We have the power to suspend the legislation. But the suspension of legislation must not be for an empty purpose. We will form a committee which will submit a report to us,” the Court said.

The committee, comprising of experts of agriculture and agri-economics is expected to play a significant role in resolving the impasse between the farmers and Centre. This expert panel includes Bhupinder Singh Mann of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, Anil Ghanwat of Shetkari Sanghatana, Dr Pramod Kumar Joshi and agricultural economist Ashok Gulati.

The court made its point saying this is not ‘politics’, adding there is a difference between politics and judiciary and asked the farmer unions to cooperate.

Senior lawyers Dushyant Dave, HS Phoolka, Colin Gonsalves, who represent 400 farmers’ bodies, were not present during the course of hearing on Tuesday. “They were supposed to consult the farmers on formation of a committee and come back today,” apprised senior counsel Harish Salve.

During the proceedings, the CJI said there is an application which claims that a banned organisation is helping in the farmers’ protest, which has entered 45th day today. “Can the Attorney-General accept or deny it?” CJI Bobde asked. In reply, Attorney General KK Venugopal said, “We have said that Khalistanis have infiltrated into the protests.” In response, the CJI directed the A-G to file an affidavit by Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the farmers who are camped out around Delhi in large numbers since late November – made this clear, as they did back then and in December, when they said “now is not the time for a committee”.

They also called an urgent meeting of farmers’ bodies at 1400 hrs on Tuesday regarding Supreme Court’s judgement.

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