Supreme Court Says Can Consider Putting Farm Laws Implementation On Hold
Farmers gather at a protest site on the Delhi-Haryana border crossing in Singhu, Delhi, India. (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)

Supreme Court Says Can Consider Putting Farm Laws Implementation On Hold

The Supreme Court has said it can consider putting on hold implementation of the three agriculture laws which have triggered protests by farmer groups in the last few months.

The intention of the court is to look whether an amicable solution can be found to the issue, Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said during the hearing, as he expressed disappointment with the central government’s handling of the issue.

And while the Solicitor General said the government has “done its best” to handle the issue, Justice Bobde said it has not been effective. The Chief Justice said he was unaware of any consultative process being followed before the laws were passed. “We had asked on last date if the laws can be put on hold. We do not have any reply on that.”

The central government and farmer unions have had eight rounds of talks but failed to break the deadlock as protests at borders of Delhi continue. Protest sites outside New Delhi have turned into semi-permanent camps since the end of November. The protesting farmers even launched a tractor march.

Attorney General for India KK Venugopal opposed passing the stay order on the farm laws, saying no arguments on their constitutionality have yet been put forward in the hearing. The Attorney General also said that putting the laws on hold will be against the interest of those farmers who are in favour or have entered into contracts pursuant to when the laws first came into effect through an ordinance.

But that didn’t deter the Chief Justice to say that he can consider putting the implementation of the laws on hold instead of staying them. “We can always stay executive action under a law,” Justice Bobde told the Attorney General.

Justice Bobde reiterated his suggestion to set up a committee to facilitate dialogue on the issue, and asked whether farmers can consider shifting their protest location if the court puts the implementation of the laws on hold.

A formal order will be passed on Jan. 12.

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