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Cannot ask PM to meet farmers for discussion on farm laws: CJI

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Justice Bobde takes oath as 47th Chief Justice of IndiaNew Delhi, Jan 12 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Tuesday junked the arguments from a lawyer, claiming to be a representative of farmers, that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not met the agitating farmers so far to discuss the controversial farm laws.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S. A. Bobde and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian said “We cannot ask the Prime Minister to go. He is not a party here.”

Advocate M.L. Sharma submitted that farmers have contacted him early on Tuesday saying they will not appear before the court-appointed committee to hear farmers’ grievances against the laws, instead they wanted the laws to be repealed. “The farmers are saying many persons came for discussion, but the main person, the Prime Minister did not come”, submitted Sharma.

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Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed the top court that the agriculture minister has already met the farmers. Sharma rebutted, “The agriculture minister has no power to decide, it is the Prime Minister who decides.”

The top court declined to entertain this argument and insisted that the court is not inclined to hear that the farmers will not go to the committee. “We are looking to solve the problem. If you want to agitate indefinitely, you can,” said the Chief Justice. When Sharma cited that corporate greed may harm farmers’ interests, the top court said it will ensure that no farm is sold under the new farm laws.

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“We are considered about validity of laws, and life and property of the citizens. We are trying to solve the problem with powers we have. We may suspend the legislation but not an empty suspension of the legislation. The committee will submit report to us,” observed the bench.

The Chief Justice added that the committee will neither punish farmers nor pass an order against them. Seeking the cooperation of farmer unions, the Chief Justice said: “members (farmer unions) are expected to show some loyalty to the judicial system. This is not politics. We want to solve this problem; we want to know the ground situation that is why we are making a committee.”

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–IANS

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