Supreme Court hears pleas challenging new farm reform laws: Key highlights

Supreme Court hears pleas challenging new farm reform laws: Key highlights”

India's Supreme Court has paused the implementation of three new farm laws being fiercely opposed by farmers, who have been holding a large protest on the outskirts of the Indian capital for more than a month.

"Hours after the court proceedings, the Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, a joint forum of farm unions, issued a statement that read, "...we informed (our lawyers) that we are unanimously not agreeable to go before any committee that may be appointed by the SC due to stubborn attitude of the government".

"We do not believe you are handling the situation correctly".

The court is likely to pronounce orders on Tuesday on issues related to the farm laws and the farmers' protests at Delhi's borders and may take a call on setting up a committee headed by a former Chief Justice of India to find ways to resolve the impasse.

Despite freezing cold, thousands of farmers have been camping out on the outskirts of New Delhi since late November.

The apex court is "extremely disappointed" with the central government's handling of the protests thus far.

As the Supreme Court stressed on the need to take the matter to an independent committee, the attorney general claimed that the panel will not be "useful" if the farmers do not tell their exact grievances with the new laws. We will stay the implementation of the laws and ask the committee to look into it, CJI Bobde also said. The laws have resulted into a strike and now you have to solve the strike. "There is a difference between politics and judiciary and you will have to cooperate", the top court said to farmers' unions. We don't want anybody's blood on our hands. We are trying to solve the problem in the best way.

A three-judge bench led by CJI SA Bobde also formed a Committee to give its report to the Court.

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CJI Bobde said the court trusted senior advocates like Prashant Bhushan, Dushyant Dave and Phoolka, who would communicate to the farmers the real objective of forming the committee.

Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, are staying put at various border points of Delhi since late November a year ago to protest against 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. It told the lawyers appearing for the farmers union, We want to make it clear we are not stifling the protest.

The farmers want the laws to be repealed completely, said Haryana Bharatiya Kisan Union President Gurnam Singh Chaduni.

- It observed that if the laws are put on hold, then negotiations will have a chance to work out.

- The bench stated that it doesn't see why there is an insistence on implementation of the law. "We hope the SC will keep public interest in mind and direct the Centre to repeal these laws".

Justice Bobde also asked advocate HS Phoolka to persuade old people and women at the protest sites to go back home. "Can you convey to them the Chief Justice has made this request", he told Mr Dave and H.S. Phoolka, who were appearing for the farmers.

"We are here to get these laws scrapped completely. the government has in a way already agreed to scrap the laws when it said it is willing to incorporate as many amendments as farmers want", he said. The CJI also said people are suffering from a cold.

The Bench before rising said it would pass an order soon. Right to protest is intact and Gandhiji exercised Satyagraha.

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