- The bench asked the central government if they are willing to suspend enforcement of the laws; it said the court would otherwise do it
- The Supreme Court’s assertion came through during the hearing of petitions challenging the farm laws
- SC also expressed concern about the state of the agitating farmers who have been camping for more than a month on the outskirts of the capital city
Today, the Supreme Court asked the Centre if it would pause the three controversial laws at the core of massive protests by farmers near Delhi, and proposed a negotiating committee. The Supreme Court said it was dissatisfied by the handling of the crisis by the government and said, “Tell us whether you will put the laws on hold or else we will do it. What’s the prestige issue here.”
During a hearing on petitions questioning the farm laws and the farmer’s agitation at the Delhi borders, the court’s sharp comments came. Tomorrow the court will pass an order on whether the farm laws can stay.
Chief Justice of India, SA Bobde told the government in a series of stern comments, and said “Each one of us we will responsible if anything goes wrong. We don’t want any injuries or blood on our hands.”
Justice Bobde said when the center called for more time, referring to ongoing negotiations: “We don’t see you are dealing with this issue effectively. We are taking a decision today. Chief Justice Bobde further expresses his concerned and said, “Who is going to be responsible for bloodshed if any?”
When the rush to pass orders was challenged by Attorney General KK Venugopal, the top judge snapped: “Don’t lecture us on patience. We have given a long rope.”
The top court indicated that the protest could proceed after the enforcement of the laws was stopped. The Chief Justice of India further said, “But decide whether you want to continue the protest on the same site or move to another place.”
The Supreme Court had stated in the previous hearing that there was no progress on the ground, and the centre was told that “healthy discussions” were taking place over all unresolved issues between the government and the unions.
The Chief Justice even pointed out the Central Government slackness and said, “We have asked in the last hearing but no answer. The situation has gone worse. People have committed suicide. The Chief Justice, SA Bobde, further said, “Why are the old and the women part of the agitation in this weather?”
The top court of India urged the central government to set up a committee and added: “If the government is not doing it on its own, hold the implementation, we will say.”
The Attorney General, arguing for the government, said: “You can form a committee but don’t stay the laws.” He pointed to past judgments indicating that without going through its unconstitutionality, courts can’t hold a law.
Mr. Venugopal also tried to emphasize that “only farmers from two or three states are protesting” that Southern or Western India did not participate.
In eight rounds of talks with farmers’ unions, the government has ruled out repealing the laws, but reaffirmed that it is open to amendments.
The farmers say they would consider nothing short of cancelling the laws by the government, which they think will ruin their guaranteed income and favor corporates. They also refused to buy the claim of the central government that by doing away with intermediaries and allowing farmers to sell anywhere in the country, the laws would bring long-delayed reforms in the agricultural sector.
On Friday, the next meeting will be held.