The Supreme Court on Wednesday took ‘serious objections’ to criticism by farmers for the committee that the court formed to resolve the impasse over the farm laws, for which thousands of farmers are protesting at Delhi borders.
Chief Justice SA Bobde said, “We gave power to hear everyone and submit report to us. Where is the question of bias? No need to brand people and malign them, and on top of it cast aspersion on court.”
The apex court has asked the government to respond to the petitions seeking reconstitution of the committee formed. The top court observed that a person will not be disqualified from the committee only because the member had an opinion on the subject.
The protesting farmers and several opposition parties have raised objections over the four-member panel formed by the court as members had expressed views in the favour of the farm laws. A member of the panel, Bhupinder Singh Mann, president of Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) had recused himself from the committee.
Chief Justice SA Bobde while stressing that the experts ‘are brilliant minds in the agricultural field’ said, “You unthinkingly cast aspersions. Someone expressed opinion… he becomes disqualified? Mann had asked for modification of laws you are saying he is for laws.”
He further added, “You cannot brand people like this. People should have opinion. Even the best judges have certain opinion even they delivered judgments on the other side.”
The top court in the hearing noted, “We entertained the issue in the interest of public and farmers. If you do not want to appear don’t appear. Do not brand people. We are finding solution to this problem. Public opinion is important and it will not determine the outcome.”
The committee constitutes of Pramod Kumar Joshi, an agricultural economist, Anil Ghanwat, the chief of Shetkari Sanghatana, Ashok Gulati, agricultural economist and former chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices apart from BKU president Bhupinder Singh Mann.
Thousands of farmers are protesting at Delhi borders as they want the government to repeal the three farm laws. The protesting farmers fear that the farm laws leave them vulnerable in the hands of big corporate houses.
The Supreme Court on January 12 had stayed the implementation of the three farm laws. So far, the government has held nine rounds of talks with 40 farmer unions have but have failed to end the deadlock.
The tenth round of discussion is taking place today.