Meet members of committee constituted by SC to end farm laws impasse

Meet members of committee constituted by SC to end farm laws impasse”

India's top court on Tuesday temporarily put on hold the implementation of new agricultural laws and ordered the formation of an independent committee of experts to negotiate with farmers who have been protesting against the legislation.

According to the petitioners, the farm laws pertaining to market reforms in agriculture are against constitutional provisions.

The SC also stayed the implementation of the farm laws until further orders.

Thousands of farmers from Punjab and Haryana states marched to New Delhi on November 29 demanding the government repeal laws that they say work against their interests.

"The committee will go to them, if they do not come to us", he said, when asked about protesting farmers' unwillingness to talk to the committee.

A three-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde on Tuesday barred the implementation of the law until the court hears the matter and arrives at a judgment. The court said either the government should suspend the controversial laws or the court must intervene to suspend them.

Addressing a press conference at Singhu (Delhi-Haryana) border, farmer leaders claimed the members of the committee formed by the top court are "pro-government".

The farmer groups have said that the committee included members who have publicly backed the farm laws and have also advocated for them.

The court asserted it had the power to suspend the legislation, but the stay must not be for an empty goal. "The government can stay implementation of the laws and amend them after discussions with farmers", Ghanwat had said.

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The siege of a key roadway connecting the country's capital where the farmers have been camping for the past two months will continue, protest leaders said, as will plans to march into the city later this month.

On Dec. 30, the two sides reached a consensus on two issues - that the government would continue its subsidy of electricity for irrigating farms, and that farmers would not be punished for burning crop residues, a cause of air pollution.

He said unions never demanded that the apex court form a committee to resolve the impasse, alleging the Central government is behind these developments.

Another farmer leader Darshan Singh said they will not appear before any committee, adding Parliament should discuss and resolve this issue.

"This was a precautionary measure we took in view of yesterday's hearings where there was talk of a committee".

"It is clear that the court is being misguided by various forces even in its constitution of a committee". In an opinion piece for Indian Express, Joshi had said: "Any dilution in the farm laws will constrain Indian agriculture in harnessing the emerging global opportunities". It must be because of the government which records activities of farmer organisations that they found him suitable for the job.

BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said any order of the Supreme Court has to be complied with by all the concerned parties.

The committee the court appointed comprises Ashok Gulati, an agricultural economist; Pramod Kumar Joshi, former director (South Asia), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); Bhupinder Singh Mann, national president of the Bhartiya Kisan Union and All India Kisan Coordination Committee; and Anil Ghanwat, president of the Shetkari Sanghatana.

"Some members of the committee have already backed the farm laws and this is more like dilly-dallying".

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