- Committee members are known supporters of controversial laws
Implementing its observations on ongoing farmer’s stir the Supreme Court on Tuesday put on hold the three controversial farm laws and appointed a four member expert committee to “listen the grievances of the farmers on the laws and view of the government and make recommendations”. According to Chief Justice of India Mr. SA Bobde the expert committee may create a congenial atmosphere and improve the trust and confidence of the farmers. On the other hand, the stay on farm laws according to CJI may assuage the hurt feelings of the farmers and make them confident enough to scythe their way to negotiating table in good faith.
The stay on the implementation of the laws means that pending next order the government can’t proceed with any executive actions to enforce the law. The SC has expressed sympathy with and concern for the farmers specially with older people women and children facing the tough cold weather are sitting on dharna and were exposed to cold wave and Covid 19 the bench said.
But the court inspite of all its well intentioned gesture, comments, observations and orders has failed to break the ice as the committee that has been appointed by it consists of the members known for their pro laws stand. All four of them have left no stone unturned to justify these controversial laws and have termed them as revolutionary steps for improving the farmer’s income. The farmer’s umbrella organization spearheading the movement has rejected the committee as a government ploy to divert the public attention. They resolve their stand not to appear before this committee saying it will be nothing but wastage of time as these members will never have any sympathetic consideration of our true issues with these laws. The farmer’s leader reiterated their sand to continue with their protest “indefinitely” including plans for a peaceful tractor parade in the Capital on Republic day. The committee has been formed to divert the public attention and reduce the pressure on the government said Mr. Balbir Singh Rajewal of Bhartiya Kisan Union Punjab unit.
The committee appointed by Supreme Court consists of Mr. Ashok Gulati,Mr. Pramod Kumar Joshi, Mr. Anil Ghanwat and Mr. Bhupinder Singh Mann. Mr. Gulati has been a long time proponent of liberalizing the Indian agriculture and has wholeheartedly welcome the three farm laws in question similarly Mr. Pramod Joshi too is strong supporter of these farm laws he has termed the Centre’s response on farmer’s stir as positive according to him any dilution in the farm laws will constrain Indian agriculture in harnessing the emerging global opportunities. Mr. Anil Ghanwat president of a Maharashtra based farmer’s organization is also supporter of these laws. Terming these farm laws as a step in right direction. Mr. Bhupinder Singh Mann has been a member of Rajya Sabha and is heading the All India Kisan Corordination committee. Its stand that these farm laws are in the interest of the farmers it will make Indian agriculture competitive but it wants government to bring some safeguard to protect the interest of the farmers. This brief introduction of the members of the SC appointed committee and their stand on farm laws clearly shows that the agitating farmers worst fear has come true. How could these gentlemen with their known stand on these controversial laws be honest and sympathetic to these farmers. Their report to the SC definitely will be according to their known stand . By appointing panel of such members and not giving place to any member who is opposed to these laws and who could truly present the case of farmers the SC has itself put on question its impartiality and sense of justice. It may or may not be true but surely it gives credence to the doubt that the purpose of proposed negotiation between the farmers and this committee is to provide an escape route to the government and a tool to defame the farmer’s stir. The government its well oiled propaganda machinery will leave no stone unturned in branding the agitating farmers as being unreasonable, adamant and arrogant who are not having faith both in parliament and Supreme Court. Already these farmers are being branded as Khalistani Urban Naxals and what not?
While a negotiated settlement is always a best option but the courts must be cautious to their impartiality and justice without prejudice. Courts must ensure that the judicial power is not seen as a tool in the hands of government and as being used to dilute the importance of people’s stir or delegitimize their right to protest. The Courts major responsibility is to adjudicate not negotiate. The courts approach raises the question whether it should traverse beyond its adjudicative role and pass judicial orders of significant importance on the basis of sanguine hope and mediational zeal.
One thing is quite clear that the SC was unnecessary drawn in the controversy as the laws in question are more related with policy matter and the policy making is the sole jurisdiction of the government and the people here in this case the farmers have every right to oppose these policies so the matter is between the government and the farmers. It is the duty of the government to be reasonable flexible and accommodate all views. Being arrogant rigid and uncompromising may be a dictator’s characteristic not acceptable in democracy. Hope good sense will prevail on the government it will shed its ego and arrogance and will behave like a true democrat.
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