The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the implementation of the three controversial farm laws and formed a four-member committee to take over negotiations with the farmers on the impact of these laws.
On Monday, the top court had indicated that it may appoint a retired Chief Justice on the committee and asked the parties involved in the matter to suggest few names. Chief Justice S.A. Bobde disclosed that he had asked former Chief Justice P. Sathasivam but he was reluctant since he doesn't understand Hindi. Former Chief Justice R.M. Lodha's name was also suggested during the hearing.
However, on Tuesday, the Chief Justice named four agriculturists to the panel: Ashok Gulati, agricultural economist; Bhupinder Singh Mann, President, Bhartiya Kisan Uniom-Mann; Anil Ghanwat, President, Shetkari Sangathan; and Pramod Kumar Joshi, International Food Policy Research Institute.
None of these members were part of the hearing on farm laws in the apex court, especially in the past two days, when a bench headed by the Chief Justice made several critical observations against the government on these laws. The bench also cited that government had failed to develop a consensus before passing the laws.
The top court noted that the negotiations between the farmers' bodies and the government have not yielded any result so far, therefore a committee of experts in the field of agriculture to negotiate between the farmers' bodies and the government may create a congenial atmosphere and improve the trust and confidence of the farmers.
But there seems to be a roadblock. It has been widely reported that members of the committee favour the farm laws. Against this backdrop, the farmers' unions have said that this committee is not a solution.
For instance, Gulati, for instance, has put his weight behind the farm laws and compared them to the 1991 economic reforms. Mann, who heads his own faction of BKU, who has also come out in the support of farm laws. In December, he had met Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and expressed his support for the new farm laws.
Ghanwat, who heads the Maharashtra based Shetkari Sanghatana, has spoken against the demand for repealing the farm laws. He had also told the media that the APMC and MSP systems will continue, therefore there is no reason for agitation. Joshi had written an article in a leading financial daily, where he had said it is unfortunate that farmers are changing the goalposts before every negotiation.
The Supreme Court has tasked the committee to hear the government as well as the representatives of the farmers' bodies, and other stakeholders, and submit a report to the court containing its recommendations. "This shall be done within two months from the date of its first sitting. The first sitting shall be held within ten days from today," said the top court in its order.
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