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Agitation enters 50th day; Supreme Court panel to begin hearings on Farm Laws in 10 days


Farm leaders address a press conference at Singhu border in New Delhi after the Supreme Court judgment on the farm laws, on Tuesday, January 12, 2020. (Express Photo: Abhinav Saha)

The Supreme Court has put on hold, until further orders, the implementation of the three contentious farm laws and named a committee to suggest what changes, if any, were needed after it listens to all sides. The bench, headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde and comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, claimed negotiations between the farmers and the government had been fruitless and a “committee of experts” may “create a congenial atmosphere and improve the trust and confidence of the farmers”.

It added that a stay of “implementation of all the three farm laws” may “assuage the hurt feelings” of protesting farmers and encourage them to come to the negotiating table with “confidence” and in “good faith”.

In a statement, the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, spearheading the protests by farmer unions camping at the gates of Delhi since November 26, said: “We noted that the Court has ordered suspension of implementation of the laws temporarily. Suspending the implementation of the laws as an interim measure is welcome, but is not a solution and the farmer unions have not been asking for this solution, given the fact that the implementation can be reinstated… The Government must repeal the laws.”

The Morcha said it would not participate in “any such committee process”.

All four members have publicly been in favour of the farm laws and none of them has supported the demands for repealing them. Three of the four believe the protesting farmers are misguided; they are unanimous in their view that the farm laws will benefit the farmers immensely.

There is no voice in the panel for the kind of reservations against the farm laws that the protesting farmers are raising. But between the four of them, the panel members bring several decades of experience, either as agricultural economists or farmer leaders.

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