Supreme Court of India

By Vineet Malik | London, England | January 13, 2021

Trouble seems to be constantly mounting for farmers demonstrating peaceful protest, challenging the constitutional validity and demanding to repeal the draconian farm laws in India.

On Tuesday, a Constitutional bench led by Chief Justice of India – S A Bobde , Justice A S Bopanna and Justice V Subramanian granted stay on the three controversial farm laws; Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce ( Promotion and Facilitation ) Act, 2020, Essential Commodities ( Amendment ) Act, 2020 and Farmers ( Empowerment and Protection Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020.

The interim order states, 

“Having heard different perspectives, we deem it fit to pass the following interim order, with the hope and expectation that both parties will take this in the right spirit and attempt to arrive at a fair, equitable and just solution to the problems”.

“The implementation of the farm laws shall stand stayed until further orders.”

“The representatives of all the farmers’ bodies, whether they are holding a protest or not and whether they support or oppose the laws shall participate in the deliberations of the Committee and put forth their view points. The committee shall, upon hearing the Government as well as the representatives of the farmers’ bodies, and stakeholders, submit a Report before this Court containing its recommendations.”

“While we may not stifle a peaceful protest, we think that this extraordinary order of stay of implementation of the farm laws will be perceived as an achievement of the purpose of such protest at least for the present and will encourage the farmers bodies to convince their members to get back to their livelihood.

The interim order has ensued a fresh controversy making farmers all the more sceptical in dealing with the government.

The top court in it’s order constituted a four members committee to resolve the farmer union’s ongoing grouse.

The four members committee entails Bhupinder Singh Mann,  Anil Dhanawat, Pramod Kumar Joshi and Ashok Gulati.

Mann has been assertive towards implementation of the said laws. Recently, a representation of farmers presented a memorandum to Agriculture Minister in Krishi Bhawan with a request to implement the said laws, with amendments. Mann voiced his opinion on amendments to make sure that judicial recourse and a level playing field between private and state-run markets.

Anil Dhanawat, President – Shetkari Sanghatana supported the farm laws however with a rider to make amendments.

Pramod Kumar Joshi, erstwhile senior employee of International Food Policy Research Institute ( IFPRI ) also extended support towards the said laws in one of his opinion published in “The Financial Express”.

Ashok Gulati, fourth member of the committee is known to have agriculture background as an economist. He wrote his opinion that was published in the “Indian Express” on October 01, 2020 where-in he openly supported all the farm laws. He wrote that, the economic rationale of these pieces of legislation was to provide greater choice and farmers to sell their produce and to farmers to sell their produce and to buy and store, thereby creating competition in agriculture marketing. He asserted by making a comparison of the said laws with the de-licensing of the industry way back in 1991. 

With the said ill-favoured development, irate farmers have made it clear that, they refuse to accept the said committee formed by the top court and their peaceful protest would not end till the said laws to favour the powerful Industrialists are dropped.

Ever since the protest began, more than fifty farmers have lost their lives while participating in the protest.

After the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 this is the second political challenge faced by Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India.

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