Supreme Court asks Centre to explore possibility of putting three Farm Laws on hold

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On Thursday, the Apex Court asked the Central Govt to explore the possibility of putting on hold the 3 farm laws, against which farmers are protesting at different borders of Delhi.

A bench headed by CJI SA Bobde asked Attorney General KK Venugopal if the Govt can assure the Court that it will not take any executive action on implementation of the law till the court hears the matter.

“What kind of executive action? Farmers will not come for discussion if this happens,” Venugopal said. To this, the Justice Bobde said it is to enable the discussion.

The bench said notices have to go to all the protesting farmers’ bodies & suggested that the case can be placed before a vacation bench of the court during the winter break. Venugopal said notice has to be served to all the farmers’ representatives who have been part of the talks with the Govt so far.

During the hearing, the CJI observed that a protest is constitutional until it does not destroy property or endanger life & remarked that the purpose of the farmers’ protest cannot be realised by demonstrating without engaging in discussions.

The bench also said it was considering setting up an impartial & independent committee that will hear both sides & submit its findings.

CJI Bobde said that “The protest is constitutional till it does not destroy property or endanger life. It is an absolutely perfect protest. But the purpose cannot be realised if they could continue to sit without talking. The Centre & the farmers have to talk”.

The bench said the farmers have a right to protest & it will not interfere with the same, but added that it will ask the Central Govt to slightly alter the manner in which the protest is being held to ensure it does not affect the citizens’ right to movement.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Central Govt, suggested people of eminence facilitate dialogue between the farmers & the Centre instead of constituting a committee.

Mehta said that “We need someone who can break the ice. I am suggesting that instead of a committee adjudicating let there be people of eminence who can facilitate the dialogue. We have solutions issue wise to farmers. We have given them in writing too”.

Lawyer AP Singh, appearing for the Bharathiya Kisan Union (Bhanu), asked why can’t the Ramlila Maidan be given to the farmers to protest?

The CJI observed that the Court can’t determine whether the protesters can maintain peace in Ramlila Maidan or not. “We have to leave it to the police,” said CJI Bobde.

The bench, which was hearing a batch of pleas against the farmers’ protest at different borders of the national capital, said it will not decide the validity of the laws as of now.

It said that “The first & the only thing we will decide today is regarding the farmers’ protest & the fundamental right of citizens to move. The question of the validity of laws can wait”.

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