New Delhi: The Supreme Court bench, led by Chief Justice SA Bobde, will hear key petitions related to farmers’ protests here on Monday (January 11, 2021). Several PILs have been filed in the top court citing law and order situation and inconvenience to people living in the Delhi-NCR region due to the protesting farmers.
Petitions have also been filed by DMK MP Tiruchi Siva and other opposition leaders challenging the constitutionality of the new farm laws.
After eight round of talks between the Centre and the farmer, unions have failed to yield any result as the agitating farmers are adamant on the repeal of new farm laws.
Now, all eyes are on the Supreme Court, which will look at the legality of the three contentious laws. A cursory look at the earlier observations by the apex court indicated that it would facilitate in breaking the ongoing deadlock between the Centre and the farmers.
On December 17, 2020, the SC had acknowledged the right of farmers to non-violent protests while suggesting the idea of putting on hold the new farm laws to enable negotiations with agitating farmers.
The apex court had said, “It will not interfere with the farmers’ protest against the three farms laws. We are of the view at this stage that the farmers’ protest should be allowed to continue without impediment and without any breach of peace either by the protesters or police.”
The top court had also observed that the farmers’ right to protest should not infringe the fundamental rights of others to move freely and in getting essential food and other supplies as the right to protest cannot mean blockade of the entire city.
The Centre, however, had said that agriculturists would then not come forward for the talks. The court was told by both the sides that the negotiations are not happening at the moment.
The top court said it would pass an order on constituting a committee only after hearing all the parties, including the protesting farmer unions. It also said that farmers cannot keep on protesting without talking to the government.
Notably, thousands of farmers have camped at the Delhi borders since late November in 2020 and have been protesting against the three laws that were enacted in September 2020. These laws have been projected by the Centre as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country.
The agitating farmers, however, have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of Minimum Support Price and do away with the mandi system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.
The 8th round of talks with the representatives of 41 farmers’ unions was attended by Union Minister for Agriculture Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister for Railways, Commerce and Industry and Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Piyush Goyal and Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Som Prakash at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on January 8.
The Agriculture Minister, who had expressed that the farmers’ unions have kept the agitation disciplined which was praiseworthy, said the government is willing to continue discussions with an open mind.