"We are looking to solve the problem", the Chief Justice said. We are extremely disappointed with the way the Centre is dealing with this.
"When we suspend the implementation of a legislation, it can not be an empty suspension". The government has to take responsibility.
However, the court noted Attorney General KK Venugopal's "support" of a "specific averment" by the Indian Kisan Union that an organisation, Sikhs for Justice, banned for anti-India secessionist movement, is financing the agitation. Also, farmers' landholdings should be protected."That is, no farmer shall be dispossessed or deprived of his title as a result of any action taken under the farm laws", the court ordered.
The apex court stayed the implementation of the three laws - the Farmers' (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act - against which several petitions have been filed challenging their constitutional validity. "We are firm on our demand", he said, adding that the apex court's order was only a small step towards the bigger goal. "We are willing to suspend the laws but not indefinitely and not without some goal", said CJI Bobde.
During the hearing, the SC said that it will form the committee despite objection by farmer union leaders. "I am sure the farmers who have gone to Delhi will not retreat till the laws are revoked", the State Water Resources Minister said.
The court also constituted a four-member committee to listen to farmers' grievances and the government's views on the contentious laws but protesting farmers groups rejected the mediation.
"It is a victory for fair play", CJI Bobde replied.
The court today sought cooperation of protesting farmers and said no power can prevent it from setting up a committee to resolve the stalemate over three farm laws.
Chief Justice Bobde disclosed that he had asked former Chief Justice P. Sathasivam but he was disinclined since he doesn't understand Hindi. "The government is trying to misguide the court on this too", the statement noted.
Thus, the presumption of constitutionality implies that courts should not interfere with the will of the legislature unless there are compelling reasons to do so.
The key changes reportedly demanded by the AIKCC include farmers having judicial recourse instead of the local bureaucracy being the final arbiter.
The bench told the Centre that they are not experts on the economy.
The court once again reiterated that it can't interfere with the farmers' right to agitate against the farm laws but hoped they could shift to another venue to ease the inconvenience being caused to the public. Who is taking care of the water and food? "He is not a party here", responded CJI Bobde. "It was the Shetkari Sanghatana headed by late Sharad Joshi which had pressed for these changes first", Mr Ghanwat, whose organization has been accused of backing the Centre on the issue despite representing farmers, said.