Supreme Court on Monday has heard a number of petitions, including those filed by DMK MP Tiruchi Siva, RJD MP Manoj K Jha, who has challenged the constitutional validity of the three farm laws, passed by the Centre along with the plea to remove protesting farmers.
A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde said, “What is going on? States are rebelling against your laws”.
“We don’t want to make any stray observations on your negotiations but we are extremely disappointed with the process,” said the bench. The bench also comprised of Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.
“The Court cannot stay legislation unless it finds that the law is passed without legislative competence and the law violates fundamental rights,” Attorney General KK Venugopal said. “We have asked in the last hearing but no answer. The situation has gone worse. People have committed suicide. Why are the old and the women part of the agitation in this weather?” the Chief Justice questioned the government.
The 8th round of talks between the Central Government and the farmer unions on January 7 didn’t come to any judgment as the Centre ruled out repealing the controversial laws while the farmer leaders said they are ready to fight till death and their ‘Ghar waapsi’ will happen only after ‘law waapsi’. After the eighth round of talks, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had said no decision could be reached as the farmer leaders did not present alternatives to their demand for the repeal of the laws.
On Saturday, a farmers’ body, Consortium of Indian Farmers Associations (CIFA), moved the top court in support of the three laws and sought impleadment in the matter.
There is no improvement on the ground regarding farmers’ protests, was told by the Centre on the last date of hearing that “healthy discussions” were going on between the government and the unions over all the issues and there was a good chance that both sides may come to a conclusion in the near future.
The court urged the center to set up a committee and added: “If the government is not doing it on its own, hold the implementation, we will say.”
Mr. Venugopal also sought to highlight that “only farmers from two or three states are protesting”, that there was no participation from southern or western India. The farmers say they will accept nothing less than the government canceling the laws, which is believed by them that will kill their guaranteed earnings and benefit only the corporates. They have refused to agree to the central government’s argument that the laws will bring long-delayed reforms in the agriculture sector by doing away with middlemen and allowing farmers to sell anywhere in the country.
The protesting farmers have expressed their anxiety that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of Minimum Support Price and do away with the mandi system, leaving them dependent for their limited earnings on the big corporates.