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'Don't lecture us about patience': Supreme Court tells Govt over farm laws | Top quotes

Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, are staying put at various border points of Delhi since late November last year to protest against the laws. Enacted in September, the three laws have been projected by the central government as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country.

India TV News Desk India TV News Desk
New Delhi Updated on: January 11, 2021 15:58 IST
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Farmers' plea in Supreme Court: Who said what

The Supreme Court on Monday heard a batch of petitions, including those filed by DMK MP Tiruchi Siva, RJD MP Manoj K Jha, challenging the constitutional validity of the three farm laws, passed by the Centre along with the plea to remove protesting farmers. Here's a blow-by-blow account of what happened during the hearing in the top court.

What happened inside the Supreme Court today

Attorney General KK Venugopal: Parties have indicated that discussions will be continued till January 15

CJI: We are extremely disappointed with the way Centre is dealing with this. What consultative process has been followed for farm bills that entire states are up in rebellion

AG Venugopal reads out the details of the consultative process; states how the state APMC acts were amended and states that such amendments started during the previous regime

CJI: Mr Attorney please understand it will not help you that some other govt started it.  This whole thing has been going on. What negotiation has been going on?

AG: Farmer unions are saying either repeal the farm acts or protest will continue

CJI: We are not on repeal. This is a delicate situation. Our intention is to see if we can bring about an amicable resolution to the problem. That is why we asked you why don't you put the farm bills on hold. You want time for negotiation. If there is some sense of responsibility showing that you will not implement the laws, then we can form a committee with ICAR members to look into this. Till then you can continue to put the law on hold. Why will you insist on continuing the law anyhow? I am not understanding whether you are part of the problem or solution

SG: We are part of the solution. So many organizations have come to us from farmer unions and stated that the laws are progressive and that we should not give in

CJI: There is not a single pleading before us which says it is oppressive. Let those farmer unions who say it is progressive say that before the committee. But you have to tell us whether you stay the farm acts or we do it. Keep it in abeyance. What is the issue? We are not in favour of easily staying a law but we want to say don't implement the law. People are committing suicides. People are suffering cold. Who is taking care of water and food? Old people and women are in the ground. Why are old people in the farmer protests? We don't want to comment on the agitation. We propose to form a committee and if the government does not then we will stay the implementation of the farm acts

Adv AP Singh: We have faith on you

SC: We are the Supreme Court of India and we will do our job

Senior Adv Harish Salve: On Minimum Support Price we have agreed upon. All areas on which they are not agreeing with the centre can be resolved by judicial orders. The objectionable parts of the law can be stayed

CJI: Talks are breaking down because Centre wants to discuss point by point of law and farmers want it to be repealed. We will stay the implementation of the farm acts. After the implementation of farm laws are stayed you can carry on protest and we don't want anyone to say that we stifled the protest. But it needs to be seen then if protesters can be removed a bit from there. Frankly, we have an apprehension that there will be some incident which may breach the peace. It may be intended or unintended

Senior Adv Vikas Singh: There need to be guidelines for protesters

CJI: Those who are protesting are not reading guidelines. We don't want anybody's injury or blood on our hands

Senior Adv Harish Salve: Then this large human gathering has to be called off and they should go before the committee

CJI: Responsibility is on all of us. Any stray incident can spark violence. All of it cannot be achieved in a single order. As a court, we will not pass any order saying that you cannot protest. But we can say that it is not the only place to protest

Advocate ML Sharma submits that unless Article 369 of the Constitution is amended until then no law can be passed 5 years after the constitution came into force 

CJI: We are not able to understand your petition. We will hear you later

Senior Advocate Vivek Tankha appears for Madhya Pradesh based farmers

Advocate Vivek Tankha: We have come to this Court challenging the validity of three farm laws. I welcome the suggestion to keep laws on hold. There are huge issues on payment to farmer under these new acts

CJI: There is one political party which says we should not pronounce on policy of law. This is the quality of public discourse. This is what I read in the papers today

AG Venugopal: None of the petitions point to any provision of three farm acts stating that it is unconstitutional 

CJI: We are not declaring it unconstitutional 

AG: Laws cannot be stayed. This is drastic

CJI: We are doing this because you have failed to solve the problem..Union of India has to take the responsibility. The laws has resulted into a strike and now you have to solve the strike

AG: Let them come and say to the committee but don't stay it

CJI: We are aware of verdicts. You are citing the Maratha Reservation verdict delivered by Justice L Nageswara Rao

AG Venugopal: There are other judgments too (reads citations)

AG: Law cannot be stayed unless its beyond legislative competence or violative of Fundamental rights of against any constitutional provision. None of the petitioners have argued on this. Each one of this in support of farmers and farm acts are in their benefit. Farmers from South India have not protested. Why? Because the laws are for their benefit. That is why we are asking them to understand the law. Haryana Cm also wanted to meet the farmers but the entire set up of the meeting was destroyed. Press reporters were assaulted

CJI: We should not be understood that we are protecting any law breaker. If someone breaks the law they will face the consequences sequences. We are not encouraging breaking of law. We propose to pass this order to prevent loss of life and property

AG: Please direct that what happened with Haryana CM cannot happen. On January 26, 2,000 tractors will be driven to Rajpath to destroy the ceremony

Senior Adv Dushyant Dave: Nothing of that sort will happen. 

CJI: We are happy to hear Mr Dave. We thought the same

CJI: These issues will be taken care by Police. Right to protest is intact and Gandhiji excercised Satyagraha. That agitation was much bigger

Dave: Our unions have maintained complete discipline. Nothing happened in 48 days. Just a day before hearing a meeting of CM was planned

Senior Adv Dave: No one has invited the women and old. They have come in their own because it is about their existence. Bajra was being sold 400 rupees below MSP in open market. It is difficult for farmers to sustain. Lot of farmer leaders are being prevented to join protests

CJI: We are still thinking. It is equally effective if we stay the implementation of the law without staying the law

AG: It is the same thing

CJI: We can always a stay a legitimate executive action under a law

Senior Adv Dave: Every member from Punjab family is in the army. No one is going to disturb the republic day parade. We have been asking for three months to let us protest in Ramlila Maidaan. Why can't they be allowed to go there? These are historical grounds where there is a right to protest. We are helpless and we need to show how affected we are. We all know these farm acts were passed in the Rajya Sabha. It was disturbing. 

AG: We are meeting in 15th, can you wait till then

CJI: We do not think Centre is handling the issue correctly. We have to take some action today. We don't think you are being effective

Senior Adv PS Narasimha appears for Indian Kisan Union: Large number of organizations believe that this law is beneficial for them. Before any interim order is granted, we need to be heard. 

CJI: Even if your argument is valid it does not help the solution to the problem

Senior Adv Narasimha: Please don't pass an interim order today. Let the AG take instructions and let the meeting happen

CJI: We will make the atmosphere comfortable and conducive for talks. Till then the farm laws can be put on hold. Who is going to be responsible for blood shed? We need to uphold Article 21 as a constitutional court. What if some conflagration takes place

Dave: Why can't the government call a joint session of the Parliament and have a debate again on this

Senior Adv Harish Salve: There must be an assurance that peace is being threatened by large group of people. Sikhs for Justice, a Vancouver based organization has put up posters that 10,000 will be paid to anyone who joins the protest

CJI: If laws are put on hold then negotiations will have a chance to work out

Salve: There must be an assurance that farmers will not turn their back even if the farm acts are put on hold

CJI: We are not having a last hearing. They will appear before the committee. Mr Dave has said so

Dave: There are 400 orgsnisations and we need to seek instructions on appearing before the committee

CJI: You appeared before the government and now not committee

Dave: I just need to seek instructions

Senior Adv Salve: Your lordship does not generally stay a law. But has the power to do so. But it should not be like government is pushed to the Blackfoot and the protest continues. 

CJI: You understand us. You cannot demand a repeal of the law when the law is not in force

Advocate Rahul Mehra appears for the Goct of NCT Delhi: There is a complete trust deficit for the farmers as far as Centre is concerned. The solution by you is compassionate and concerning. Senior citizen and everyone is affected. Who is Mr Salve representing?Looks like some govt. Currently its the ego of certain governments which is not allowing a fair dialogue

Adv MP Devnath for Confederation of All India Traders seek implementation. Adv Archana Pathak Dave appears for a South Indian farmers body and seek implementation

Adv Hari Om Sharma appears for Rajasthan based farmers stating that they want the laws to be implemented

Adv Ajay Chaudhary appears for Kisan Mahapanchayat who have been stopped from entering Delhi from Haryana: we seek the laws to be set aside. Putting laws on hold will put the situation im balance

Adv Ashish Sonavane: We appear on behalf of Bhartiya Kisan Sangathan and instead of staying the implementation there can be a commission and we can represent there

CJI: You cannot persuade the Punjab farmers. Can you? We are proposing to pass this order to facilitate resolution of this problem by a committee chosen by us

Senior Adv Colin Gonsalves appears for a bunch of farmer unions: The unions had appointed a committee of four lawyers which had Dishyant Dave, Prashant Bhushan, HS Phoolka and me. All of us will go back and consult unions and take a stand on this

CJI: Who will take responsibility for loss of life and property? This is the most important component of our view

Adv HS Phoolka: I am assisting Mr Dave. In the protest there are number of people who are not protesters. There are girls who have been caught there. The people have caught some people in protest who say they are set by police. 40 trolleys from my village are there and old people are there. They are here for their son and children. 

CJI: In case we stay the implementation then there is nothing to fight for here especially the old. Everybody is welcome to come to Delhi and watch republic day parade. If so many lakhs people enter Delhi people fear there must be destruction of life and property. However law and order matter is not with this Court but police

Phoolka: We have tried to convince the old people but they refused

CJI: Please tell them Chief Justice of India asks them to leave, see if they are convinced

AG KK Venugopal: 2,000 farmers have got into contracts with traders under these laws. If you stay the law then the 2,000 farmers will heavily lose.  If implementation is stayed then what cannot be done directly will be done indirectly. When they go before the committee will they only demand withdrawal of the farm acts. If they only demand this then the committee will yield no result. They need to give suggestion clause by clause if its not in their interest etc

CJI: We must hope and trust lawyers like Dushyant Dave and Prashant Bhushan to convey the purpose of having a committee. The committee will tell us if the laws are in public interest. I had spoken to former CJI P Sathasivam. He does not understand Hindi. So he can't be a part of the committee

AG: They have to given an assurance they will not only demand repeal. If such an assurance is not given then please don't stay it

CJI: What should we not be in a hurry not to stay it. Mr Attorney don't lecture us about patience

CJI: We have given you a long rope

Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta: There were harsh observations regarding handling of the incident

CJI: That was the most innocuous factual thing for us to say

SG Mehta: At the highest level decision was taken. Some unions used to come who turned their chairs back when ministers sat for meeting or covered their ears and eyes. 

CJI: We can't say anything on this

SG: We did our best

CJI: It does not appear to have taken that effect. An order might be passed today in part and then again tomorrow

Bench rises for today. Hearing again tomorrow

AG: They have to given an assurance they will not only demand repeal. If such an assurance is not given then please don't stay it

CJI: Why should we not be in a hurry to stay it. Mr Attorney don't lecture us about patience

Also Read | Disappointed with process, will stay implementation of farm laws: Supreme Court tells Centre

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