ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Farmers Reject Supreme Court Committee

Farmers’ refusal of the Supreme Court committee marks an astute recognition of democratic values.

 

The art of evasion, in the hands of the ruling dispensation, appears to find new lease each time it confronts opposition. After the 10th round of talks with farmers’ organisations, reports suggest that the union government is willing to delay the implementation of the three controversial farm acts by 18 months. This delayed implementation will, according to the government, allow for an amicable solution. The farmers’ organisations have rejected this offer.

As these talks take place, another arena of engagement is being paved, with the Supreme Court’s proposed four-member committee, which initially included Bhupinder Singh Mann (leader of the Bharatiya Kisan Union [Mann], Punjab), who later opted out of the committee, Pramod Kumar Joshi (International Food Policy ­Research Institute), Ashok Gulati (agricultural economist) and Anil Ghanwat (Shetkari Sanghatana, Maharashtra). All of them have publicly supported these acts and, not surprisingly, the proposed committee met with instant criticism from the farmers’ organisations. The farmers have clearly stated that they will not appear before any such committee. The farmers contend that the committee proposed by the Supreme Court, apart from failing the test of impartiality, also distracts from the clear constitutional concern that is being raised. In fact, as the farmers have pointed out, none of the members are lawyers or legal experts. In a petition to the Supreme Court, the farmers have requested that the committee must be reconstituted to include former judges and individuals without any outright bias. In the interim, one of the members, Mann—a farmer leader—opted out saying that he did not want to be part of something that went against the popular sentiment among farmers. Meanwhile, in response to the claim for reconstitution by members of eight major farmer organisations, the Chief Justice of India remarked that the committee does not have “adjudicating powers.” While the formation of the committee could allow the government some room for negotiation, the farmers refuse to allow their engagement with the government to be reduced to the “customary” proceedings of a committee.

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Updated On : 30th Jan, 2021

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