Legal battle comes to an end after PM’s announcement to repeal farm laws

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New Delhi | After Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement to repeal the three farm laws, the batch of petitions pending in the Supreme Court challenging these laws would become infructuous.

On January 12 this year, the Supreme Court had stayed the implementation of the three farm laws after scores of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh pitched their tents on various Delhi borders in protest against the three laws.

The top court had also constituted a committee to report on the three farm laws.

The Supreme Court had stayed the implementation of three farm laws: i) Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; (ii) Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020; (iii) Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020.

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“We are of the view that the constitution of a committee of experts in the field of agriculture to negotiate between the farmers’ bodies and the government of India may create a congenial atmosphere,” the top court had said in its order then.

On November 26 last year, the farmers’ unions began their agitation on various Delhi borders, which is still continuing for nearly a year now, after the Centre failed to convince the protesters despite holding several rounds of negotiations.

The national capital also witnessed violence at Red Fort on Republic Day this year during a tractor rally taken out by the protesting farmers.

Justifying the stay on the implementation of farm laws, the top court had said: “We deem it fit to pass the following interim order, with the hope and expectation that both parties will take this in the right spirit and attempt to arrive at a fair, equitable and just solution to the problems.”

The committee was given two months to submit its report on the three laws. The committee, after consulting a large number of farmers and several stakeholders, had submitted its report before the March 19 deadline.

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The committee initially comprised four members: Bhupinder Singh Mann, national president, Bhartiya Kisan Union and All India Kisan Coordination Committee; Parmod Kumar Joshi, agricultural economist, and director for South Asia, International Food Policy Research Institute; Ashok Gulati, agricultural economist and former chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices; and Anil Ghanawat, president, Shetkari Sanghatana. Mann resigned later.

The committee had also sought views and suggestions of the general public through a public notice, which was published in major newspapers.

During this period, a woman residing in Noida had moved the top court seeking direction to remove the road blockade as it was prolonging her travel time from home to office.

During the hearing, a bench headed by justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul noted that the farmers have the right to protest, but roads can’t be blocked indefinitely.

The bench had also sent notice to several farm leaders in the matter.

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Another organisation, Kisan Mahapanchayat, which had moved the top court seeking permission to hold a ‘Satyagrah’ at Jantar Mantar in the national capital, was slammed by the top court.

A bench headed by justice A.M. Khanwilkar had told the organisation’s counsel that after blocking highways and strangulating the city, the demonstrators now want to come inside to protest.

“You cannot come to the court and at the same time continue with protest,” the bench had observed.

However, the bench decided on a larger issue, whether the right to protest can be absolute even when the statutes have already been stayed by the Supreme Court, and the matter was pending before it.

IANS

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