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‘We won’t appear before Supreme Court’s appointed committee’: Farmers groups reject apex court’s suggestion

The Supreme Court had yesterday asked for appointing a committee to resolve the deadlock between the Central government and farmers groups over recently enacted Agriculture laws. However, the farmers’ groups have rejected the offer and said that they would not appear in the Supreme Court-appointed committee’s proceedings. They said that the Central government’s attitude in the court on Monday had made it clear they will not repeal the three laws.

Collectively and individually not willing to participate

Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) had issued a statement on Monday night that the organizations welcomed the apex court’s suggestions to stay the implementation of the Agriculture laws. However, they will not appear in any proceedings before a committee appointed by the court. “Looking to the attitude and approach of the Government which made it clear before the court today repeatedly that they will not agree to the discussion for repeal before the committee,” the statement added.

Union leaders had discussed the pros and cons of the committee with the lawyers representing the farmers in the court and decided to reject the suggestion. They had expressed disappointment in their statement that the court has decided to pronounce the order on Tuesday without any further consultation.

In its statement, the unions said that their lawyers had requested the apex court to fix hearing on Tuesday so that they can consult the organizations and seek consent to the suggestions. “We have been told that no such hearing has been fixed for tomorrow as per the cause list already published for tomorrow till 9 p.m. and that only the matters are listed for pronouncements for order by the Hon’ble Court. These events have deeply disappointed us, our lawyers and also farmers at large,” the statement added.

The committee is a delaying tactic: Darshan Pal

Krantikari Kisan Union President Darshan Pal alleged that the committee is a delaying tactic of the union government. He said that the protests are against the government and it should face the wrath of the people. Earlier, BKU(Ekta Ugrahan) had said that they only want to get the laws repealed.

Agriculture minister refused to comment

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar refused to comment on the proceedings of the Supreme Court and said, “The matter of farm laws is before the Supreme Court and I don’t find it necessary to comment on it. The next round of talks with the farmers is scheduled for Jan 15, I hope we will find a solution.”

”It is a result of two decades of deliberations” – Central government said in the affidavit

On Monday evening, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare had submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court after the hearing on the Agriculture Laws was concluded. In the affidavit, the Centre said that the Acts had received wide acceptance across the country. Some farmers and others were objecting to the reforms and demanded to repeal the laws. The demand is neither justifiable nor acceptable.

The court had earlier said that the central government had enacted the laws without much consultation and consideration. As a reply to the remarks made by the court, the central government had said that the Farm Laws are the result of two decades of deliberations. The government said that there is a wrong perception created by non-farmer elements about the laws that need to be cleared.

It states:

  • The legislations are not hurriedly made but are a result of two decades of deliberations;
  • The farmers of the nation are happy as they are given an additional option over and above the existing and, therefore, no vested right is taken away.
  • The Central Government has done its best to engage with the farmers to remove any misapprehensions or misgivings in the minds of the farmers, and no efforts have been found lacking.

Farmers are misguided, says govt

In the affidavit, the government has alleged that some of the farmers are agitating against the laws because of the apprehensions, misconceptions and misgivings created by some people with vested interests. The affidavit also presented a timeline of events regarding how the union government had tried to engage with the farmer groups, but it was not fruitful.

In the affidavit, the government said that on some occasions the representatives who came to attend the meeting came with the placards of “yes” and “no” [for repeal of the laws] and did not discuss anything about the laws. On other occasions, they remained silent and did not speak a word during the discussion. “They only wanted repeal of the laws and no discussions,” the affidavit said.

Agitation is limited to only one place

In the affidavit, the Centre said that majority of the farmers are finding the Agriculture Laws progressive and in their interest, as they will have more option to sell their crops. Thus, the agitation by some farmers cannot be treated as the reflection from the whole farmers’ community.

Centre had discussed the laws in May

CJI SA Bobde earlier had raised questions over the consultative process carried out before passing the laws. In the affidavit, the government mentioned a meeting that was held on May 21, 2020. The meeting was held by the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers’ Welfare in which officials of 13 States and Union Territories were present. They provided feedback on the legal framework for the barrier-free inter-state trade in agriculture produce. The Centre said, “Government of India has been, thus, actively and intensively engaging with the States for about two decades to achieve the aforesaid objectives of reforms to provide an accessible and barrier-free market system for better price realization but states either showed reluctance to adopt the reforms in true spirit or made partial or cosmetic reforms.”

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OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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