Monday, January 18, 2021

SC panel on farm laws not far-sighted move: Legal experts

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Widespread protests in Punjab, Haryana against farm lawsBy Sumit Saxen, (IANS) The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the implementation of the three farm laws and set up a four-member committee to examine the grievances of the farmers, but in legal experts’ opinion, the move to form the expert panel to resolve the impasse is not “far-sighted”.

The apex court, in its order, said: “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.”

The committee after hearing the government as well as the representatives of the farmers’ bodies, and other stakeholders, will submit a report to the Supreme Court containing its recommendations.

However, the farmers unions have already rejected the top court move for a court-appointed committee to resolve the situation and stressed they won’t appear before it.

Speaking to IANS, senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi asked what would happen after hearing the aggrieved farmers, the committee suggested amending the laws.

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“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 top court decision to set up the committee.

Senior advocate Nidhesh Gupta said the farmers feel all the four members of the committee favours 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.

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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.

(Sumit Saxena can be contacted at [email protected])

Source: IANS

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