With the Supreme Court of India now becoming the mediator to resolve the conflict between the Central government and the protesting farmers, new developments are coming through. On Monday the apex court said that it may pass an interim order halting the implementation of three farm laws to break the deadlock between the two parties.
So far, eight rounds of negotiation have been held between the central government and the farmers. But the two sides are unable to resolve their issues. With the farmers are adamant on repeal, and the government stating that they will not repeal the laws in any circumstances, the impasse seems to be unresolved. In this situation, the Supreme Court has been involved to bring the deadlock.
In an exhibition of their objective to break the impasse, Chief Justice of India, S.A. Bobde, told Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, the government’s counsel, “You tell us if you can put the laws on hold, otherwise we will do it.”
Supreme Court further stated, “There is some sense of responsibility in showing that you will not implement the laws…then we can form a committee to look into this. Why will you insist on continuing the law anyhow?”
Further criticising the centre, Supreme Court said, “We do not think Centre is handling the issue correctly. We have to take some action today. We don’t think you are being effective….We propose to form a committee and if the government does not then we will stay the implementation of the farm acts…We are doing this because you have failed to solve the problem…Union of India has to take the responsibility.”
The Supreme Court bench further said, “The laws have resulted into a strike and now you have to solve the strike….We are proposing to pass this order to facilitate the resolution of this problem by a committee chosen by us…We will make the atmosphere comfortable and conducive for talks. Till then the farm laws can be put on hold. Who is going to be responsible for bloodshed? We need to uphold Article 21 as a constitutional court. What if some conflagration takes place?”
Supreme Court’s sharp remarks came during a hearing on petitions challenging the farm laws and the farmers’ agitation in the national capital.
In response to this, Attorney General Venugopal told the Supreme Court that the decision to stay the legislation will be drastic, and argued that the laws cannot stay unless they are found to be enacted without legislative competence, violating fundamental rights or any other provisions of the Indian constitution. The Attorney General said, “None of the petitions points to any provision of three farm acts stating that it is unconstitutional. The laws cannot be stayed. This is drastic.”
Venugopal further pointed out that the farmers from South India have not protested because they realise that the laws are to their advantage, “That is why we are asking them to understand the law.”
These developments come after the centre filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court which stated that the laws were not made in hurry but were the result of two decades of deliberations. It also claimed that the farmers are happy and that the government has done its best to engage with the farmers.
It seems that the central government and the Supreme Court are at a difference of viewpoint as to how to proceed ahead. While the government is stating that the laws cannot stay because they are legally sound, the Supreme Court is concerned with ending the deadlock.