Supreme Court stays implementation of farm laws, forms panel to hold talks – Times of India

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the implementation of all three farm laws, passing orders on a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the laws. Farmers have been demanding to repeal these laws while the government has held its ground arguing in favour of the legislation.
Supreme Court-appoints committee to examine farm laws
The court said it wants to solve the stalemate between the Centre and the farmers by setting up the committee.
The bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde formed a committee comprising HS Mann, Pramod Kumar Joshi, Ashok Gulati and Anil Dhanwant to examine farm laws.
“We cannot keep the farm laws abeyance for nothing. There must be some progress to resolve the issue over farm laws which we want to do through committee,” said Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde.
“All can give response to the committee, both for and against. And we will accept the committee and deal with the farm laws,” CJI said.

A view of the protest site at Singhu Border, Delhi.

There is difference between judiciary and politics: SC seeks farmers’ cooperation
The bench urged the farmers’ unions to cooperate and go before the committee to be appointed by it to resolve the dispute.
The observation of the bench asking protesting farmers bodies to cooperate assume significance in view of reports that they would not go to any apex court-appointed panel for resolution of disputes and wanted repeal of laws only.
“We are forming a committee so that we have a clearer picture. We don’t want to hear arguments that farmers will not go to the committee”.

Farmers at Singhu Border stockpile firewood to cook community meals.

“We are looking to solve the problem. If you (farmers) want to agitate indefinitely, you can do so,” said the bench which also comprised Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.
“This committee will be for us. All of you people who are expected to solve the issue will go before this committee. It will not pass an order or punish you, it will only submit a report to us..” said CJI.
It highlighted the difference between judiciary and politics and asked the farmers to cooperate with it.
“This is not politics. There is a difference between politics and judiciary and you will have to cooperate”, it said to farmer unions.
Government to submit affidavit on alleged infiltration by Khalistanis
CJI SA Bobde asked attorney general KK Venugopal about the infiltration by banned organisations in the farmers’ protest.
“There is an application before us which says that there is a banned organisation which is helping this protest. Can the attorney-general accept or deny it?,” said the CJI
Venugopal said, “We have said that Khalistanis have infiltrated into the protests.”

A protest organized in New York in solidarity with farmers protests in India. (Credits: AP)

“If there is infiltration by a banned organisation and somebody is making an allegation here before us, you have to confirm it. File an affidavit by tomorrow,” the CJI told the Attorney General.
“We will file an affidavit in this regard and place the Investigation Bureau (IB) records,” said the Attorney General.
Seek permission from Delhi Police to move to Ramlila Maidan: SC to farmers
When permission was sought for protest at Ramlila Maidan, the apex court said if it is permitted to hold protests at Ramlila Maidan, then the protesters have to scrupulously abide by the norms set by police.

Farmers protest at Singhu border, Delhi. (Credits: PTI)

“Has any farmer body made such an application? Are they willing to abide by norms,” the court asked farmers’ representatives.
The court said that farmers may apply for permission to the Delhi Police commissioner for protests at Ramlila Maidan or other locations.
Notice issued to Delhi Police over tractor rally on Republic Day
The Apex Court also issued the notice on the Delhi Police’s application seeking to stop the proposed tractor rally on Republic Day by farmers protesting against the new farm laws.
Attorney General KK Venugopal said that if these farmers are allowed to enter, then no one can say, where they will go. To this, the CJI replied: “The police is with you (government)… Entry to the city will be a decision of the police.”

Farmers pitch tents at Delhi-Noida border. (Credits: Reuters)

The Attorney General said that there is no question of a huge group of one lakh people entering the city on Republic Day. “We can’t say where they all will go,” he said.
The CJI said it is within police powers to control that and check if they are armed.
Farmers have been protesting at different borders of the national capital since November 26, 2020, against the three newly enacted farm laws – Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
(With inputs from agencies)
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