The Supreme Court Tuesday stayed the implementation of controversial new farm laws till further orders and decided to set up a committee to resolve the impasse over them between the Centre and farmers' unions protesting at Delhi borders. A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said that it will pass an order to this effect. The committee will look into the farmers' grievances against the three new laws. During the hearing, the top sought the cooperation of the protesting farmers and made it clear that no power can prevent it from setting up a committee to resolve the impasse over the controversial farm laws.
Farm laws hearing underway: HIGHLIGHTS from Supreme Court
01:35 pm: Supreme Court stays the implementation of three farms laws until further orders
01:22 pm: Supreme Court has issued a notice on the Delhi Police's application seeking to stop the proposed tractor rally by protesting farmers on Republic Day
01:21 pm: We will file an affidavit in this regard and place the IB records, says Attorney General
01:20 pm: If there is infiltration by a banned organisation and somebody is making an allegation here before us, you have to confirm it. File an affidavit by tomorrow: CJI to Attorney General
01:19 pm: Attorney General KK Venugopal says we have said that Khalistanis have infiltrated into the protests
01:17 pm: There is an application before us which says that there is a banned organisation which is helping this protest. Can the Attorney-General accept or deny it? asks CJI
01:13 pm: We will say in the order that farmers may apply for permission to the Delhi Police Commissioner for protests at Ramlila Maidan or other locations, says CJI
01:09 pm: Sr advocates Dushyant Dave, HS Phoolka, Colin Gonsalves, who represent 400 farmers' bodies, haven't joined SC's proceedings today. They were supposed to consult the farmers on the formation of a committee and come back today, says senior advocate Harish Salve before SC
01:07 pm: Sr advocate Harish Salve appearing for one of the petitioners says staying implementation of the laws shouldn't be seen as a political victory. It should be seen as a serious examination of concerns expressed over the legislations, he adds
01:05 pm: This is not politics. There is a difference between politics and judiciary and you will have to cooperate, says Supreme Court
01:02 pm: SC says it has the power to suspend the legislation in order to solve the problem
12:57 pm: We are concerned about protecting life and property of citizens, says Supreme Court
12:54 pm: The committee is part of the judicial process in this case. We are planning to suspend the laws but not indefinitely, says CJI
12:53 pm: We cannot ask the prime minister to go. He is not a party in the case, says CJI
12:51 pm: Advocate ML Sharma says the farmers are saying many persons came for discussions, but the main person, the prime minister did not come
12:49 pm: We are forming a committee so that we have a clearer picture. We don't want to hear arguments that farmers will not go to the committee. We are looking to solve the problem. If you (farmers) want to agitate indefinitely, you can do so, says CJI
12:47 pm: This committee will be for us. All of you people who are expected to solve the issue will go before this committee. It will not pass an order or punish you, it will only submit a report to us, says CJI
12:45 pm: We're concerned about the validity of the laws and also about protecting life and property of citizens affected by protests. We are trying to solve the problem in accordance with the powers we have. One of the powers we've is to suspend the legislation and make a committee, says CJI
12:41 pm: Advocate ML Sharma, who filed a plea challenging the farm laws, tells the court that farmers have said they will not appear before any committee to be constituted by the court
Earlier on Monday, the bench had heard a clutch of pleas challenging the new farm laws as well as the ones raising issues of citizens' right to move freely during the ongoing farmers' stir. It pulled up the Centre for its handling of the farmers protest against the new farm laws saying it is “extremely disappointed” with the way negotiations between them were going.
It also indicated amply that it may go to the extent of staying the implementation of the contentious farm laws and refused to grant extra time to the Centre to explore the possibility of amicable solution saying it has already granted the government a “long rope”.
Don't want to appear before any SC-appointed committee: Farmer leaders
A joint front of 40 agitating farmers unions on Monday welcomed the suggestion of the Supreme Court for a stay on the farm laws implementation but said they are not willing to participate in any proceedings before a committee that may be appointed by it. Pulling up the Centre for its handling of the farmers' protest, the apex court on Monday said it is “extremely disappointed” with the way negotiations between them were going and will constitute a committee headed by a former Chief Justice of India to resolve the impasse.
“While all organisations welcome the suggestions of the Supreme Court to stay the implementation of the farm laws, they are collectively and individually not willing to participate in any proceedings before a committee that may be appointed by it,” a statement issued by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha said.
“We met our lawyers this evening and after deliberation on the pros and cons of the suggestions, we informed them that we are unanimously not agreeable to go before any committee that may be appointed by the Supreme Court today due to the stubborn attitude of the government,” it read.
The umbrella body said the apex court was requested by their lawyers and by other counsel, including Harish Salve, to fix the next hearing on Tuesday to enable them to consult the farmer unions and seek their consent to the suggestion of the SC.
“We have been told that no such hearing has been fixed for tomorrow as per the cause list already published for tomorrow till 9 PM and that only the matters are listed for pronouncements for order by the court. These events have deeply disappointed us, our lawyers and also farmers at large,” the Morcha said.
Earlier in the day, farmer leaders said they would continue their agitation even if the government or the Supreme Court stays the implementation of the new agri laws.
The farmer leaders, who said they were sharing their "personal opinion", were also of the view that a stay is "not a solution" as it is only for a fixed period of time.
Centre moves SC against proposed farmers' tractor rally on Republic Day in Delhi
Meanwhile, the Centre on Monday moved the Supreme Court seeking an injunction against the proposed tractor or trolley march or any other kind of protest which seeks to disrupt the august gathering and celebrations of the Republic Day on January 26. In an application filed through the Delhi Police, the Centre has said that it has come to the knowledge of the security agencies that a small group of protesting individuals or organisations have planned to carry out a tractor march on Republic Day.
"It is submitted that the proposed march is slated to disturb and disrupt the august celebrations of the nation on Republic Day and would be bound to create a massive law and order situation," the application said.
"It is submitted that the said proposed march/protest seeks to disrupt and disturb such celebrations which is bound to create a serious law and order situation and will cause an embarrassment to the nation," it said.
It said that right to protest is always subject to the "countervailing public order and the public interest" and the right to protest can never include "maligning the nation globally".
"It is submitted that the Republic Day function on January 26 each year has its own constitutional as well as historical significance. The January 26 Republic Day ceremony is not an isolated standalone ceremony rather a grand rehearsal takes place on January 23 where everything which is to happen on January 26 of each year is rehearsed," the application said.
"Any disruption or obstruction in the said functions would not only be against the law and order, public order, public interest but would also be a huge embarrassment for the nation," it said while referring to the Republic Day ceremony.
It requested the top court to restrain anyone from conducting any protest march either in the form of tractor march, trolley march, vehicle march or any other mode by entering into the National Capital Region Territory of Delhi.