Supreme Court asks Centre to consider putting farm laws on hold, will set up panel to resolve Deadlock

A day after the Supreme Court rapped the Centre over the ongoing protests of farmers as the negotiations didn’t yield results, a bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde on Thursday asked the attorney general for India if the government can give a commitment that the far laws will not be implemented while the court if hearing the petitions.

The Centre told the apex court that if the implementation of farm laws is put on hold, then farmers will not come forward for negotiations. When the bench told that this is to enable talks, the AG sought some time to get back on this issue.

During the hearing, the Supreme Court bench made some significant observations regarding the ongoing protests, the plight of Indian farmers etc.The protesters, on the other hand, remained unfazed as the agitation against three farm laws remained unfazed

. An impartial and independent panel is likely to be set up. Apart from farmers and government’s representations, experts like P Sainath are likely to find a place in the committee.

. Meanwhile, the protest can go on, the bench said.

. Attorney General KK Venugopal said the large gathering at various border points of Delhi increases the Covid-19 risks. “None of them (protesters) wears a face mask. They sit together in large numbers. Covid-19 is a concern. They will visit villages and spread it there. Farmers cannot violate the fundamental rights of others,” the AG said.

. The Punjab government has no objection to the Supreme Court’s suggestion that a group of people will act as the facilitator between the Centre and the farmers, P Chidambaram, who represented the Punjab government, said. It is for farmers and the Centre to decide who will be the members of the committee, he said.

Sitting in protest won’t help, said CJI

“Blocking Delhi may lead to people in the city going hungry. Your (farmers) purpose can be fulfilled by talking. Just sitting in protest won’t help,” the CJI said.

Sympathetic to farmers: CJI

“We are also Indian, we are familiar with the plight of farmers and are sympathetic to their cause. You (farmers) have to only alter the way the protest is going. We will ensure you can plead your case and thus we are thinking of forming a committee,” the CJI said.

. The CJI also asked the AG if the government can commit that the farm laws will not be implemented while the court is hearing the petitions and that no executive actions will be taken under the laws in order to facilitate the negotiations.

. The AG said if the implementation is put on hold, then farmers will not agree to negotiation. The bench said that the suggestion is to facilitate negotiation and then the AG sought some time to get back on this point.

Farmers are not a mob, the bench noted. “We are worried over plight of farmers and the way things are going,” the CJI said. On Thursday, no judgment was passed. The bench said it will order for serving of notices to protesting farmer unions and give them liberty to approach vacation bench.