The Supreme Court on Monday, in a sharp criticism of the Central government, suggested putting on hold three contentious farm reform laws that farmers have been protesting over for the last few months and said the government was not “handling the crisis correctly”.
The apex court made the scathing remarks while hearing several petitions. While some of the pleas sought the removal of protesting farmers camping at the borders surrounding Delhi, others challenged the laws. This came as eight rounds of talks between the protesting farmers and the Central government failed to reach a consensus.
As the court continues to hear the pleas and reach a decision, here is what transired in the top court on Monday:
1. Chief Justice of India SA Bobde observed that the government was ineffective in dealing with the farmers crisis, and said, “Who will be responsible if there is violence or bloodshed. Court has a constituent duty to protect… Each one of us will be responsible if anything goes wrong. We don’t want any injuries or blood on our hands.”
2. While the court was inclined to pass an order on Monday, the attorney general informed the court about the next meeting with farmers and sought time till then. The court said it will continue the hearing in the case on Tuesday.
3. The court said that the government had mentioned negotiations with the farmers even the last time and said, “We are disappointed”.
4. The court also made clear that it was in favour of an “amicable solution”, but asked, “Why is there no response on suggestion of suspension of laws? If the Centre agrees to suspend laws (the implementation), we will ask farmers to sit on the table.”
5. The Supreme Court also made a mention of suicides related to the farmers protests and said, “You either tell us will you suspend the implementation of law or the court will do it”.
6. While the Central government had maintained the laws would not be taken back, the court said, “We don’t see why there should be an insistence that the laws must be implemented at any cost.”
7. The solicitor general told the court that there were many farmers organisations that supported the farm laws. But CJI Bobde said, “We don’t have any single petition before us saying that the laws are good.”
8. The attorney general alleged in court that 2,000 tractors were planning to reach Delhi on Republic Day for protests. However, farmers’ groups represented by Dushyant Dave informed the court that there were no plans to disrupt 26 January celebrations or cause any law and order situation through a tractor march.
9. Dave then told the court, “Many farmer leaders are former jawans and retired army personnel. How can we disrupt the Republic Day celebrations.” He requested the court to allow farmers to go to Ramlila maidan for protests.
10. The court proposed a clear intention of putting up a committee. The court said, “We are proposing to set up a committee. We also propose to stay the implementation of the laws. If anyone wants to argue, argue.” The court also asked for suggestions of names to be included in the committee.