Protests at Delhi borders to continue, farmers ready to go before committee

Protests at Delhi borders to continue, farmers ready to go before committee

The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the implementation of the three agriculture Acts till further orders and constituted a four-member committee to resolve the impasse over the laws between the Centre and protesting farmers.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also raised questions over the formation of the committee, asking can justice be expected from people who have given written support to the "anti-agriculture laws".

The SC also stayed the implementation of the farm laws until further orders.

To soothe fear among protesters, the court ruled that the existing system of government setting a minimum floor price for procurement of certain farm produce will continue and no farmer will be deprived of their land using the new laws.

"It is unusual for the Supreme Court to assume the role of a mediator and appoint a committee to facilitate dialog", said Ashish Deep Verma, Managing Partner of law firm Vidhisastras Advocates & Solicitors.

A three-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde on Tuesday barred the implementation of the law until the court hears the matter and arrives at a judgment.

"While we may not stifle a peaceful protest, we think that this extraordinary order of stay of implementation of the farm laws will be perceived as an achievement of the goal of such protest at least for the present and will encourage the farmers bodies to convince their members to get back to their livelihood, both in order to protect their own lives and health and in order to protect the lives and properties of others", the court said, a day after it came down heavily on the Centre over its handling of the protests and negotiations with the farmer leaders.

Tikait also said he will discuss the Supreme Court order of putting the three farm laws on hold with other farmer leaders.

Addressing a press conference at Singhu Border here, Union leaders claimed the members of the committee are "pro-government", and asserted they will not appear before it.

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The court asserted it had the power to suspend the legislation, but the stay must not be for an empty objective. "It is the government's way to distract attention from the protest", he said.

"It is a big relief for farmers and I hope that a concrete dialogue between the Central government and farmers will be initiated now, keeping the farmers interests and wellbeing in mind", he said.

The siege of a key roadway connecting the country's capital where the farmers have been camping for the past two months will continue, protest leaders said, as will plans to march into the city later this month. However, they welcomes the court's decision to put the three laws on hold.

The court-appointed committee comprising Ashok Gulati, Pramod Kumar Joshi and farmer leaders Anil Ghanwat and Bhupinder Singh Mann, will hold its first meeting in 10 days and submit the report in 2 months.

"We are against the committee in principle".

"It is clear that the court is being misguided by various forces even in its constitution of a committee".

BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said any order of the Supreme Court has to be complied with by all the concerned parties. "How can anyone trust a "committee" whose members have already spoken so loudly in favour of Modi govt's draconian farm laws?"

The top court has also issued notice on the Delhi Police's plea seeking to stop the proposed tractor rally by protesting farmers on 26 January.

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