New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday (January 12) stayed the implementation of new farm laws till further orders. The top court also decided to set up a 4-member committee to resolve the impasse between the Centre and farmers’ unions protesting at Delhi borders.
NCP president Sharad Pawar welcomed the top court’s decision to stay the implementation of three farm laws and set up of a panel to resolve the impasse. In a tweet, Pawar said “A welcome decision taken by the Apex Court of India to put on hold the implementation of three farm bills and set up a four-member committee to resolve the issues. #SupremeCourt #FarmLaws.”
Last month, Pawar, who was the Union agriculture minister from 2004 to 2014 in the Manmohan Singh government, along with other opposition leaders including Congress’s Rahul Gandhi met President Ram Nath Kovind and sought a repeal of the three farm laws.
A section of JJP MLAs said that the Centre should repeal the three farm laws or it will cost the ruling BJP-JJP alliance in Haryana “heavily”, hours before their party chief and Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala meets Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi.
Chautala and Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar are scheduled to meet Shah in the national capital, and they will be accompanied by BJP state president O P Dhankar.
DMK President MK Stalin welcomed the apex court`s decision to stay the three farm laws. In a tweet, Stalin said: “I welcome the decision of the Supreme Court to stay the farm laws in the cases filed by various parties including DMK.”
Stalin said, “This is a victory for farmers protesting across India,” urging the Centre to commit to repealing the three farm laws in the next Parliament Session.
The reaction of farmer leaders
Farmer leaders welcomed the apex court’s order to stay the implementation of three farm laws on Tuesday and said they would not call off their protest until the legislations are repealed.
Speaking to media after the SC order, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) spokesperson Rakesh Tikait said, “Our protest will continue. We are demanding that the government repeal the three laws and also make a law to guarantee Minimum Support Price (MSP) for our produce.”
Tikait said farmers will continue the protest, regardless of the number of days it takes, adding that he will discuss the Supreme Court order of putting the three farm laws on hold with other farmer leaders.
The Sankyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of around 40 protesting farmer unions, has called a meeting later in the day to decide the next course of action.
The farmer leaders said they are not willing to participate in any proceedings before a committee appointed by the Supreme Court, but a formal decision on this will be taken by the Morcha. “We welcome the court’s order to stay the implementation of the farm laws, but we want a complete repeal of these laws,” Abhimanyu Kohar, a senior leader of the Morcha, told PTI.
Another farmer leader, Harinder Lokhwal, said the protest will continue until the contentious farm laws are repealed.
The Supreme Court stayed the implementation of the controversial farm laws till further orders on Tuesday and decided to set up a committee to resolve the impasse between the Centre and the farmers’ unions protesting at Delhi’s borders over the legislations. A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said it will pass an order to this effect.
The committee will look into the farmers’ grievances against the three laws. The four members of the committee set up by the apex court are BKU president Bhupinder Singh Mann, Shetkeri Sangathana, Maharashtra president Anil Ghanwat, Pramod Kumar Joshi, director for South Asia, International Food Policy Research Institute, and agriculture economist Ashok Gulati.
Thousands of farmers, mostly from Haryana and Punjab, have been protesting at several border points of Delhi since November 28 last year, demanding a repeal of the three laws and a legal guarantee on the minimum support price for their crops.
The Supreme Court stayed the implementation of the three laws — the Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act — against which several petitions have been filed challenging their constitutional validity.