The Supreme Court on Tuesday, while hearing a batch of petitions on the farmers laws and farmers agitation, suspended the implementation of farm laws until further notice and ordered the formation of a committee with agricultural experts to find a solution to the impasse.
Pramod Joshi, Ashok Gulati, Anil Ghanwat and Bhupinder Singh Mann were among those named for the panel.
A day after the top court criticised the Centre for the way the farmers’ agitation was handled, it asked the farmers to cooperate with a committee and asked for all farmers organisations to be made party to the case. The court also asked the Centre to submit an affidavit on the security situation after the attorney general made allegations on the presence of “Khalistanis” in the protest.
Here are the highlights from today’s hearing:
— The Chief Justice of India, SA Bobde said, “We are going to suspend the implementation of the farm laws. We stay the laws till further orders.” However, earlier in the hearing on Tuesday he said the laws could not be indefinitely suspended with an alternative process of resolution.
— The top court ordered the formation of a committee with agricultural experts to hold talks between the protesting farmers and the Central government.
— Agricultural economists Ashok Gulati, Pramod Joshi, Anil Ghanwat and Bhupinder Singh Mann were among the names mentioned by the CJI as members of the panel. Gulati is the Infosys Chair Professor for Agriculture at the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations and the winner of the Padma Shri in 2015. Joshi is a former director for South Asia at the International Food Policy Research Institute. He was the director of the National Academy of Agricultural Research Management and the director of the National Centre for Agricultural Economics and Policy Research in New Delhi. Mann is a former Rajya Sabha MP and a member of the Bharatiya Kisan Union. Ghanwat is the president of the Shetkari Sanghatan that has supported the farm laws.
— During the hearing, the attorney general alleged presence of Khalistani support for the farmers protests and presented the court with news clippings.
— The CJI said, “If there is an infiltration by a banned organization, and somebody is making an allegation here on record, you have to confirm it. You file an affidavit by tomorrow.”
— The solicitor general said in court that the farmers were being misled. “Farmers are being misled. Misgivings are being spread about the law. The law protects the farmer adequately,” he said.
— After the court’s observation on women and children being part of the protest, AP Singh for farmers union BKU-Bhanu told the court that women, senior citizens and children will not participate in the protest.On Singh’s remarks the CJI said, “We will record your statement that elders, women and children will not participate in the present protests… We want to place on record our appreciation for this stand.”
— During its oral observation at the beginning of the hearing the court had also said, “Committee shall take view from all farmer organisations. Members of the bar expected to show loyalty to the judicial process. You cannot enter the process to reject the process. You (farmers) will have to cooperate with us. We want to solve the problems.” This was after farmers unions refused to appear before a committee set up by the court.
— ML Sharma, who appeared for the farmers, had said that the farmers were of the opinion that a committee will not yield results since the Centre will not withdraw any laws. To which the SC said, “We will protect farmers land. We will pass an interim order saying the no farmers land can be sold for contract farming."
— The SC also said it will mention in its order that the farmers may apply may apply for permission to the Delhi police commissioner for protests at Ram Lila Maidan or other locations.