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

Elias Hubbard
January 13, 2021

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde also formed a panel to facilitate talks with tens of thousands of farmers staging protests on the outskirts of the national capital for almost two months.

"If protesting farmers refuse to talk and negotiate their terms through the committee and insist on their demand to repeal the laws, it can complicate the matter for the court", Verma said.

Thousands of farmers protesting at Delhi borders on Wednesday burnt the copies of Centre's new agriculture laws at all demonstration sites on the festival of Lohri on Wednesday, as a mark of protest against the contentious legislation.

Ashok Gulati, the Infosys chair professor for agriculture at the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, had likened the laws to a "a 1991 moment for agriculture", referring to the opening up of the economy by the P.V. Narasimha Rao government under then finance minister Manmohan Singh's watch. "The Committee shall, upon hearing the Government as well as the representatives of the farmers' bodies, and other stakeholders, submit a report before this Court containing its recommendations", noted the SC.

Bhupinder Singh Mann: A former nominated member of the Rajya Sabha, Mann was part of a delegation under the banner of All India Kisan Coordination Committee that in December, handed over a memorandum to Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, demanding that the three laws be implemented, with some amendments, according to The Hindu. He too suggested amendments that would plug the loopholes in the laws and has supported the amendments proposed by the government.

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. While the government maintains that farmers are being misled and the new laws will lift curbs on purchases, remove middlemen and increase farmers income, the court's decision to suspend the laws adds to its challenges.

"The representatives of all the farmers' bodies, whether they are holding a protest or not and whether they support or oppose the laws shall participate in the deliberations of the Committee and put forth their viewpoints".

"We can not accept a committee loaded with people who have written articles in the media in support of the laws".

In a statement, All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) said, "It is clear that the court is being misguided by various forces even in its constitution of a committee. We see it as an effort to divert attention from the real issue and reduce pressure on the government", he said. "That is why we are forming the committee", the bench told the parties appearing in the case.

In its interim order, the court said the committee would hold its firstsitting within 10 days.

Enacted in September previous year, the three laws have been projected by the Centre as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove middlemen and allow farmers to sell their products anywhere in the country. "Why should they? Farmers are left with no other option than to boycott this committee?"

He told reporters that the members of the committee have already expressed their views in the past favouring the new laws and so the question arises in our minds how justice will be done to farmers by their hands. "In sports, there is a name for this...."

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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