Not going to be hoodwinked by the system.

Not going to be hoodwinked by the system.

Farmers reject SC panel; call it pro-govt and not a solution

SC panel not far-sighted; SC should not have intervened: Legal experts

Agency Report | New Delhi | 12 January, 2021 | 11:00 PM

Hours after the Supreme court stayed the implementation of the Centre's three farm laws till further notice and constituted an expert committee to resolve the deadlock, protesting farmer unions maintained that the agitation will continue, and reiterating that they won't appear before the new panel. Bharatiya Kisan Union's (R) Balbir Singh Rajewal said the members of the committee, constituted by the Supreme Court, are "pro-government and justify the laws of the government." He added that the protesting farmers never demanded the formation of a committee from the top court.

The farmers’ unions said in a joint statement on Tuesday that the Supreme Court has stayed the implementation of the three Central farm laws as an interim measure, which is a welcome step, but it is not a solution.

The statement has been issued by Darshan Pal on behalf of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella organisation of the farmers’ unions spearheading the protest against the three farm laws passed by the Parliament in September last year.

In a major decision, the Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the implementation of all the three farm laws and also formed a committee comprising mostly agriculturists to hear the grievances of the farmers’ unions against the farm laws.

“The farmers’ unions did not ask for this solution, given the fact that the implementation of the farm laws can be reinstated anytime. The government must repeal the laws and it must understand that the farmers and the people of India are opposed to the laws,” the statement said.

The farmers said that they are yet to see the orders and the initial reactions are based only on the reporting of the proceedings in the court.

“We noted that the court has ordered the suspension of the implementation of the farm laws temporarily. Suspending the implementation of the laws as an interim measure is welcome, but it is not a solution, given the fact that the implementation can be reinstated at anytime. The government must repeal the laws,” the statement said.

The top court has formed a committee in its own wisdom and the farmers’ unions have nothing much to say on this. The unions reiterate the fact that they will not participate in any such committee, and one of their apprehensions about such a process got validated in the very constitution of the committee, it said.

“It is clear that the court is being misguided by various forces even in the constitution of the committee. These are people who are known for their support to the three farm laws and have actively advocated for the same. It is not out of place to remind that the farmers’ unions have rejected a committee proposal from the government too. Their dialogue is basically with an elected government about its policy directions and concomitant laws,” the farmers said.

The statement added that the farmers have explained in detail to the government of India that the three farm laws will lead to corporate control over agricultural production, processing and markets. They will also lead to high cost of inputs, higher debts, lower crop prices, increase in losses, decrease in government procurement, end PDS, raise food costs, increase farmer suicides, hunger deaths, eviction from land due to debts etc. The government has hidden these hard facts from the people and courts, it said.

The peaceful Kisan Parade announced by the farmers’ organisations on Republic Day will be held in Delhi and other parts of the country, but the government is trying to misguide the court on this too, it said.

The farmers’ movements on their key demands will continue as per the earlier announcement on January 13, 18 and 23.

The farmers are also preparing to celebrate Lohri on Wednesday on all the borders of Delhi, where they are holding dharnas.

Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi asked what would happen after hearing the aggrieved farmers, the committee suggested amending the laws.

“Would it have legislative powers? The Supreme Court should not have intervened and stayed the implementation of the farm laws. The procedure to constitute a committee is faulty,” he said.

Noting that none of the main lawyers of the farmer unions had argued that the laws are unconstitutional, Dwivedi said that instead of forming the committee, the top court should have heard the issue on the constitutional aspect. “It is shocking,” said Dwivedi on the top court decision to set up the committee.

Senior advocate Nidhesh Gupta said the farmers feel all the four members of the committee favour the farm laws. He added that in December, Bhartiya Kisan Union President Bhupinder Singh Mann met Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and expressed support for the new laws.

Gupta cited that the other two members –Dr Pramod Kumar Joshi, agricultural economist and Ashok Gulati, agricultural economist and former chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices — have written articles favouring the farm laws.

“In spite of the good intention of the Supreme Court, it appears that the farmers are aggrieved with the fact that each member of the committee has publicly supported the farm laws. If the farmers are correct, then the top court may well consider nominating such members to the committee who are at least neutral in their approach, if not against the farm laws,” he said.

Similarly, senior advocate Sanjay Parikh said antecedents of the four members of the committee suggest that either they have spoken or written in support of the farm laws.

“The constitution of the committee to resolve the deadlock between the farmers and the government over three farm laws does not seem to be far-sighted,” he said. He added that this committee will not resolve the problem if the agitating farmers think the farm laws are oppressive. “Instead, the committee appointed by the top court should have been included impartial and more knowledgeable members,” added Parikh. (IANS)