In a huge blow to the government, the Supreme Court has put on hold the farm laws enacted in September. The top court also passed a committee of agricultural experts who would take over negotiations with farmers to end the crisis.
“We are staying three farm laws until further orders,” Chief Justice SA Bobde said. The government had told the court that the laws “were not hurriedly made”, that they were the result of two decades of deliberations.
After eight rounds of talks with farmers’ unions over the past month, the government clearly put forward that the bills would not be taken back but amendments could be a way to pass the bills. After the Jurisdiction had to enter the talks, the Supreme Court said it was trying to solve the problem in the best way and had the power to suspend the laws.
“These are matters of life and death. We are concerned with laws. We are concerned with the lives and property of people affected by the agitation. We are trying to solve the problem in the best way. One of the powers we have is to suspend the legislation,” the Chief Justice said.
“We want to solve the problem and that’s why we are committing. Give the names to us, we will decide,” he added. “This is not politics. There is a difference between politics and judiciary and you will have to cooperate”, the top court said to farmers’ unions.
The top court also issued notice to farmers’ unions on a Delhi Police plea to stop a tractor rally during the January 26 Republic Day parade.
The judges rebuffed the lawyer for protesting farmers, ML Sharma, as he said farmers would not participate in the committee as Prime Minister Narendra Modi had refused to talk to them. “We cannot ask the PM anything, he is not a party before us,” said the Chief Justice.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court had said it was “extremely disappointed” by the government’s handling of the crisis.
“Each one of us will responsible if anything goes wrong. We don’t want any injuries or blood on our hands,” the Chief Justice had said in a series of sharp comments.
As the center asked for more time, referring to ongoing negotiations, Justice Bobde said: “We don’t see you are dealing with this issue effectively. Who is going to be responsible for bloodshed if any?”
Farmers from Punjab, Delhi, and Haryana have been protesting at the Singhu Border in Delhi for more than a month now. Farmers have declared a tractor march in the capital, in respect to which the center said it would be an embarrassment to the nation. More than 70 farmers have died in this protest and many have been diseased due to the tough climate.