The Supreme Court on 17th December asked the Centre to consider taking the implementation of the farm laws as a step towards starting again of the dialogue with agri unions which are opposing the legislations.
K K Venugopal who is the Attorney general gave an immediate response and it was That deferring is not possible. When the apex court said that the government should consider this to help resume the stopped talks, he also said that he will discuss about this with the Centre. However, general Tushar Mehta said that the deferment was out of question. They told the SG not to put a speak when the AG had already told them that he would discuss with the government and respond back.
The suggestion of delaying came towards the end of an hour-long hearing before the Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian. It’s where any further movement on the vexed issue became a challenge because none of the important protesting farmer unions were represented in that.
In its comments, the court held up the farm unions’ right to protest but they also noted that the talks were needed or else the protest could drag on without results. There was no outcome from the hearing that was going on from so long as only the Bharatiya Kisan Union was represented by a lawyer. The SC had asked the AG to help and serve the petitions on important protesting farmers’ unions and also move the court for urgent hearing during the winter vacation if the need arose.
The bench said the SC would not interfere with the farm protests. The CJI – led bench said that Indeed, the right to protest was a part of a fundamental right and as a matter of fact it can be exercised subject to public order. There can certainly be no hindrance in the exercise of such rights as long as it is non-violent and it does not result in damage to the life and property of other citizens and it is in accordance with the law. We are at this stage that the farmers’ protest should be allowed to continue without any hindrance and also without any breaking of peace either by the protesters or by the police.
It said again its intent to set up a committee in order to break the deadlock in talks. The bench said that the purpose of the protest can be achieved only by talking and discussing the issues with the government. Otherwise the farmers will sit at their place for years and nothing will happen.
The bench also said that to bring an effective solution to the current situation which is going on between the protesters and the government of India, they consider it appropriate and also in the favour of the justice to constitute a committee that comprises of independent and impartial persons, including the experts in the field of agriculture for the purpose.
It also said that this may not be possible without hearing all the necessary parties. They said that untill the parties come before them, it would be advisable to get suggestions about the constitution of the said committee from all the parties that may be submitted by them at the time of the date of next hearing in the matter.
The tone for the rest of the hearing was set by senior advocate named Harish Salve. He was the one who appeared for a Delhi resident. He said that No one has a quarrel with the right of farmers to protest against the farm laws. But the question was if that can be at the cost of fundamental rights of other citizens? He said that the Citizens’ right to life is affected by the blockade of highways. It is impeding supply of food grains, vegetables and other essential commodities. Prices are rising. All this has affected the middle class people who are facing a tough time due to this pandemic situation.