SC puts 3 farm laws on hold, sets up expert panel; adamant farmers to continue stir

Malini T
·4-min read

The Supreme Court on Tuesday, January 12, put on hold three controversial laws and said that a committee will be formed to take over negotiations to end the crisis.

"We are staying three farm laws until further orders," Chief Justice SA Bobde said. The apex court said the expert committee will take inputs from all the relevant stakeholders regarding the protests and the farmers’ concerns.

“We are going to suspend implementation of the three farm laws until further orders,” Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said, reading from the order passed by the three-judge bench.

The expert committee comprises the following members:

  • Jitender Singh Maan, President of the Bharatiya Kisan Union

  • Policy expert Dr Pramod Joshi

  • Agricultural economist Ashok Gulati

  • Anil Dhanvat of the Shivkeri Sangathan

‘The committee should file the report before us within 2 months. First sitting to be held within 10 days,’ the Supreme Court said in its order.

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Even as the Supreme court order putting on hold the three controversial farm laws was announced, farmer leaders continued to be adamant about their protest.

Won't leave protest site despite SC order, tractor parade will go on as planned on Republic Day: Farmer leader

Bharatiya Kisan Union spokesperson Rakesh Tikait, while welcoming the Supreme Court decision to suspend the three farm laws said that the farmers will not leave the protest site till the three laws were repealed and threatened that the tractor parade planned on Republic Day will go on as planned.

He said the farmers will continue their protest no matter how long it takes. He said that the farmers core committee will decide whether they would discuss the matter with panel set up by the Supreme Court to resolve the issue, but will meet with the government as planned on January 15.

Tikait said that the farmers agitating at the Singhu border will stay put until the three controversial farm laws are repealed. ‘Bill wapasi nahi, ghar wapasi nahi (we won't return home until the bills are taken back),’ he said when asked about the Supreme Court's order on the three farm laws.

‘We have the power to set up a committee’: SC

On Tuesday, the CJI confirmed that they had the power to set up a committee which would submit a report to the apex court regarding the farm laws. All those concerned with the issue would be able to go before the committee to present their concerns.

The Supreme Court today said a committee would be formed to take over negotiations to end the massive farmer protests and reiterated that it has the power to suspend the three controversial laws. We are trying to solve the problem in the best way. One of the powers we have is to suspend the legislation," Chief Justice SA Bobde said.

Meanwhile, senior advocates Harish Salve and PS Narasimha, representing another of the petitioners asking for removal of the protesters, argued that the protests now saw people from ‘Sikhs for Justice’, a foreign organisation with Khalistani links, seeking to sponsor the protests. The CJI has asked the Solicitor General and Attorney General to file an affidavit about this issue and send it to all the parties, including the farmers’ unions whose lawyers are not present in court at this time.

In a statement that is likely to intensify the controversy over this issue, the CJI said that “We want to place on record our appreciation for this stand.”

Senior advocate Harish Salve (representing one of the petitioners asking for removal of the protesters) raised concerns over the absence of the lawyers who were representing a number of farmer unions – Dushyant Dave, Prashant Bhushan, Colin Gonsalves and HS Phoolka – at the hearing, and said he was worried they were using the court’s observations on Monday as a victory for them.

The Attorney General also said that the Centre had intelligence bureau inputs that the protests had been ‘infiltrated by Khalistanis’ and would include these inputs in the affidavit. This was tied into the injunction application filed by the Delhi Police to stop the farmers’ proposed tractor rally on Republic Day.

The CJI agreed to issue notice on this application and said these issues would be taken up on Monday, 18 January.

The Supreme Court also directed the Centre to file an affidavit on the security situation and the alleged presence of extremist elements. CJI Bobde says allegations should be substantiated, while the Attoreny General KK Venugopal says will share details and IB inputs.

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