Friday, January 27, 2023

Supreme Court stays implementation of farm laws, names four members committee to hold talks

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday put an interim stay on the implementation of the new farm laws in a bid to get the protesting farmers to speak to the Central Government and resolve the stalemate. 

The Court has been hearing a batch of petitions, including some which want the farmers moved since they were blockading the capital. The bench of Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, Justices A.S.Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian had harsh words for the government’s inability to address the farmers’ concerns. The Court was also disturbed at the increasing cold, the number of suicides by farmers and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The farmers unions leading the protests have welcomed the Court’s concerns but have stuck to their demands of the Centre repealing the laws. They have said they don’t want to be part of any committee set up by the Court to resolve the crisis, since they have maintained that it is within the government’s remit to withdraw the laws. Yesterday, the Court had asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to initiate plans to form the committee with retired Justice R.M. Lodha as its chair.

The farmers from Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and across the country have been protesting at the Delhi borders against the Centre’s new farm laws since November 26, 2020. Despite bitter cold and rains, the farmers are not ready to step back. They have laid siege to Delhi even as the government scrambles to find an amicable solution. They argue that they would settle for nothing less than total scrapping of the legislation. 

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The government has projected the laws as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the mandi system and middlemen and allow farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country. However, the protesting farmers have argued that the new laws have no mention of minimum support price (MSP) and the mandis that will leave them at the mercy of big corporates.

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