A Supreme Court Bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde, and Justices V Ramasubramanian and AS Bopanna, has expressed dissatisfaction with the manner in which the government is handling farmers’ protests. The bench was considering a batch of petitions seeking removal of the protesting farmers from the Delhi border over the three central legislations. Another set of petitions challenging the laws are also listed before the Bench.
In today’s hearing, on January 11, the CJI expressed his disappointment to the Attorney General at the way the Government has been handling the protests. “We don’t know what consultative process you followed before the laws. Many states are up in rebellion”, tweeted LiveLaw.
CJI tells AG : We are extremely disappointed at the way government is handling all this (farmers protests). We don’t know what consultative process you followed before the laws. Many states are up in rebellion.#FarmersProtests #FarmLaws #SupremeCourt
— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) January 11, 2021
He also questioned AG Venugopal on the alleged negotiations that are going on between the Centre and the farmers. “Last time you said negotiations were going on. What negotiations are going on? We are disappointed,” he reportedly said.
The CJI significantly noted, “We understand from reports that the talks are breaking down because the Government wants clause by clause discussion and farmers want to repeal the whole law. So, we will stay the implementation till the committee makes discussion.”
According to LiveLaw, Chief Justice Bobde has proposed to appoint a Committee that shall hear both the parties and make apposite recommendations. The suggestion was further endorsed by Senior Advocates Vivek Tankha and Dushyant Dave, who are representing the farmer groups.
During the previous hearing on the matter in December, 2020 the Bench had suggested that the Centre should put on hold the implementation of three laws to facilitate talks. The Bench also observed it was thinking of setting up a neutral committee to hold talks.
The CJI said, “Parties have placed the court in a delicate situation. We are reading reports about parties saying courts will decide. Our intention is clear. We want an amicable solution for the problem. That is why we asked you last time, why don’t you keep the laws on hold. But you are keeping asking on time. If you have some sense of responsibility, and if you say you will withhold the implementation of laws, we will form a committee to decide. We don’t see why there should be an insistence that the laws must be implemented at any cost.”
The Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, on the other hand opposed the stay order, saying that many farmers organisations have come forward to state that the laws are progressive and they have no difficulty. However, the CJI was adamant on the formation of the Committee.
He reportedly told the SG that if the Government will not put on hold the implementation of the laws, the Court will do it. He reportedly asked, “What is the problem in keeping it in abeyance? We asked you this last occasion. But you haven’t replied. And the matter is getting worse. People are committing suicide. People are suffering in the cold?”
The Supreme Court has also allowed the farmers to protest peacefully without impediment and without any breach of peace either by the protesters or the police, upholding their fundamental right. More updates are awaited.