Protests at Delhi borders to continue, farmers ready to go before committee

  • Protests at Delhi borders to continue, farmers ready to go before committee

Protests at Delhi borders to continue, farmers ready to go before committee

Chief Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde said the independent committee of experts would "amicably resolve" the standoff between the farmers and the government. The protesters said the government "is trying to misguide the court on this too".

Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the party welcomes the Supreme Court's concern over the farm laws, but the party has issues with the composition of the committee formed by it.

The four members of the committee are Bhupinder Singh Mann, President of Bhartiya Kisan Union; Anil Ghanwat, President of Shetkeri Sangthana, Maharashtra; Pramod Kumar Joshi, director for South Asia, International Food Policy Research Institute, and agriculture economist Ashok Gulati.

The government, led by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), disregarded opposition to pass the bills, saying they are necessary to reform the farm sector and help farmers have the freedom to sell their products in an open competitive market and gain maximum profit.

"It is unusual for the Supreme Court to assume the role of a mediator and appoint a committee to facilitate dialog", said Ashish Deep Verma, Managing Partner of law firm Vidhisastras Advocates & Solicitors.

"We don't agree with the committee that has been formed", said Mr Darshan Pal, a farm leader with the Samyukta Kisan Morcha. "We are against the committee on principle".

Making it clear that the suspension of the operation of three farm laws would not be for an indefinite period, the court said that the setting up of the committee will not be an "empty" exercise, making it clear that all those involved in the dispute, including government and the agitating farmers, will have to appear before it.

The Supreme Court ‪on 12 October‬ issued a notice to the Centre on a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the three contentious farm laws passed by Parliament in the monsoon session past year.

"We burnt the copies of the farm laws as a mark of protest against these legislations", said committee's general secretary Sarwan Singh Pandher in Amritsar.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also raised questions over the formation of the committee, asking can justice be expected from people who have given written support to the "anti-agriculture laws".

However, the farmer leaders said they would attend the January 15 meeting with the government.

Shortly after the apex court pronounced its order, the leaders of the farmer unions addressed a news conference at Singhu border in the national capital.

"It is a big relief for farmers and I hope that a concrete dialogue between the Central government and farmers will be initiated now, keeping the farmers interests and wellbeing in mind", he said.

Farmers say they won't leave until the government repeals the laws.

The CPI (ML) claimed the stay has been done to give farmers "a perception of achievement" so that they may withdraw the protest.

The top court, while noting that negotiations between the farmers' bodies and the Government have "not yielded any result so far", said constitution of a committee of experts in the field of agriculture to negotiate may create a congenial atmosphere and improve the trust and confidence of farmers.

But farm leaders demand repeal of the laws, which they say are an attempt to erode a longstanding mechanism that ensures farmers a minimum support price for their crops.