A Bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI), SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian of the Supreme Court expressed its inclination to stay the three Farm Laws and also expressed disappointment at the manner in which the Centre has handled the issue observing that the central government has failed to solve the problem.
CJI bobde in this matter remarked, it will do its job as the apex court of the country.
“We are the Supreme Court of India and we will do our job,”
We don’t want anybody’s injury or blood on our hands, the Court stated while demanding why the Centre was insisting on not keeping the Farm laws in abeyance till the matter was solved.
SG Tushar Mehta said that Centre has done its best to resolve the deadlock. He mentioned that the Court’s observations in this matter were “harsh”.
The Supreme Court observed,
“We propose to form a committee and if the government does not (stay the law), then we will stay the implementation of the Farm Acts. We are extremely disappointed with the way Centre is dealing with this. We are doing this because you have failed to solve the problem..Union of India has to take the responsibility. The laws has resulted in a strike and now you have to solve the strike,” the Court said.
The Court remarked that it is likely to pass its order later in the day or on Tuesday. CJI Bobde said, “We might pass the order in part today and in part tomorrow.”
The Court hinted that it was in favour of shifting the protests site elsewhere and CJI Bobde remarked, “We don’t want anyone to say that we stifled the protest. But it needs to be seen if protesters can be removed a bit from there.”
CJI Bobde emphasised that the Court is not encouraging law breakers and said, “It should not be understood that we are protecting any law breaker. If someone breaks the law they will face the consequences sequences. We are not encouraging breaking of law. We propose to pass this order to prevent loss of life and property.”
CJI bobde further asked AG Venugopal about posing its objections over staying of Farm laws and to this he replied,“A law cannot be stayed unless its beyond legislative competence or violative of Fundamental rights of against any constitutional provision. Farm Laws are for their benefit.”
He also highlighted that farmers from South India have not protested against the laws.
“Farmers from South India have not protested. Why? Because the laws are for their benefit. That is why we are asking them to understand the law. Haryana CM also wanted to meet the farmers but the entire set up of the meeting was destroyed. Press reporters were assaulted,” AG Venugopal added.
The Court maintained that staying the implementation of the law would help ease the tension . It can also settle the expected violence. The bench further emphasized that,“Who is going to be responsible for blood shed? We need to uphold Article 21 as a Constitutional court. What if some conflagration takes place.”
CJI Bobde also asked various farmers unions and organisations, to persuade the women, old and child protesters to go back to their native places and told Senior Advocates Dushyant Dave and HS Phoolka who were appearing for the farmers, “Can you convey to them that the Chief Justice has made this request.”
The Court had also asked parties to suggest names of former judges who could head the committee. While Dushyant Dave suggested the name of former CJI RM Lodha, the Central government said that it will get back to the Court on this aspect tomorrow.
Farmers have been protesting at different borders of the national capital since November 26 last year against the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
The three laws, Farmers (Empowerment & Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance & Farm Services Act 2020, Farmers Produce Trade & Commerce (Promotion & Facilitation) Act & Amendment to Essential Commodities Act were established before the Court as illegal, arbitrary and unconstitutional.
It was said that these farm laws would dismantle the Agriculture Produce Market Committee system intended to ensure fair prices for farm products.
“They will pave the way for cartelization and commercialization of agriculture produced and if allowed to stand will completely ruin our country as the corporates can, with one stroke, export our agriculture produce without any regulation,” one of the petitioners have submitted.
It has also been contended that the laws passed are “unconstitutional” and “anti-farmer.”