SC says it may stay implementation of farm laws

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PTI

New Delhi

The Supreme Court on Monday rapped the Centre over the prolonged impasse with the protesting farmers demanding the repeal of the three new farm laws, saying it was “extremely disappointed” with the negotiation process, and also expressed its inclination to stay the implementation of the acts.

After some tough talk that the Centre has been given a “long rope” and “failed” to break the deadlock and not been “effective” in handling the stir, the court said it will pronounce orders on Tuesday on various issues related to the farm laws and the farmers’ ongoing stir at Delhi borders.

It also proposed setting up a committee headed by a former chief justice of India  to find ways to resolve the impasse. At a virtual hearing, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde questioned the Centre’s vehement opposition to its suggestion that the implementation of the farm laws enacted in September be kept on hold for the time being so as to help find an amicable solution.

The Centre and the farmer unions have held eight rounds of talks without any breakthrough while the protests by farmers at Delhi’s border points began on November 28.

During the eighth round on January 7, the Centre had firmly ruled out repealing the contentious laws while the farmer leaders said they are ready to fight till death and their “ghar waapsi will happen only after law waapsi”.

“We have given you long rope, Mr Attorney General, please don’t lecture us on patience,” the court told K K Venugopal. “We don’t know whether you are part of the solution or part of the problem. We don’t think you are being effective.”

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, that the top court has made “harsh observations” regarding the handling of the situation by the government.

“That was the most innocuous factual thing for us to say,” the bench responded.

The court also expressed apprehensions that the protests might lead to violence and loss of lives and property if it continues for long. “We don’t want anybody’s blood on our hands.”