Monday, 18 January, 2021


India’s Supreme Court stays implementation of new farm laws

SC to hear arguments Farmers protest: Can new farm laws be put on hold for some time, Chief Justice SA Bobde asks Centre
Bennie Garza | 12 January, 2021, 14:16

The statement said that all the organisations of farmers "express great respect for Hon'ble Supreme Court for it's understanding of the problem and comforting words expressed during the hearing today".

The Supreme Court, in the case of ML Kamra versus New India Assurance, had said on 17 January, 1992, "If the provisions of a law or the rule is construed in such a way as would make it consistent with the Constitution and another interpretation would render the provision or the rule unconstitutional, the Court would lean in favour of the former construction". The observation of the bench asking protesting farmers bodies to cooperate assume significance in view of reports that they would not go to any apex court-appointed panel for resolution of disputes and wanted repeal of laws only.

They believe the reforms would be detrimental to them, although the government has repeatedly said these laws would help in increasing their income. "People are suffering in the cold.We are proposing to set up a committee".

But farm leaders say the laws are an attempt to erode a longstanding minimum support price for their crops, and will enable a few corporates to control the country's vast agricultural sector. "We are looking to solve the problem", the Chief Justice said.

The court said it has to pass some order so that the situation can be dealt with more calmly.

In a major development, the Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the implementation of the farm laws until further orders. "Why will you insist on continuing the law anyhow?"

Tens of thousands of farmers protesting against the legislation have been blocking half a dozen major highways on the outskirts of New Delhi for more than 45 days.

The court also observed that current negotiations between a delegation of protestors and several Union ministers were not reaping any results, and reiterated that the matter needed to be resolved by a committee. The committee will look into the farmers' grievances against the three new laws. We want an amicable solution for the problem.

Objecting to any stay of the farm laws, Mr Venugopal asserted the laws were beneficial for farmers, and said: "The laws are within the legislative competence of Parliament and are meant to benefit the farmers".

"We're concerned about the validity of the farm laws and also about protecting life and property of citizens affected by protests".

We have been told that no such hearing has been fixed for tomorrow as per the cause list already published for tomorrow till 9 PM and that only the matters are listed for pronouncements for order by the court. "What if some conflagration takes place?" the CJI Bobde said, in a poser.

The government has said there was no question of such a rollback, and eight rounds of talks have failed to find common ground.

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