All 4 members of Supreme Court panel pro-govt, say protesters; minister calls them impartial
The government on Tuesday said that the Supreme Court order staying the implementation of the three farm laws is against its wish but the direction of the apex court is 'sarva-manya' (acceptable to all) and welcomed the composition of an "impartial" committee to resolve the deadlock.
"We welcome the Supreme Court order. Definitely, an impartial committee has been formed which will take the opinion of all farmers and experts across the country," minister of state for Agriculture Kailash Choudhary said.
"The Supreme Court order is against our wish. We want the laws to continue. However, the order is "sarva-manya" (acceptable to all)," he added.
The minister also said that new laws have been framed in the interest of farmers and will make them self-reliant.
Chaudhary further said that the government is always ready for talks but it is up to farmer unions to decide whether they want to go ahead with the scheduled ninth round of talks on January 15.
Meanwhile, the farmer unions protesting against the three laws said they want nothing less than a complete repeal of the laws. The protesters also said that the members of the committee chosen by the Supreme Court are pro-government and they will not appear before the panel.
"It is clear that the court is being misguided by various forces even in its constitution of a committee. These are people who are known for their support to the three acts and have actively advocated for the same," a statement issued by All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) said.
Darshan Pal, the president of the Krantikari Kisan Union, one of the farmer bodies participating in the agitation, said that they have already stated that any such committee is not acceptable to them.
"We had said yesterday itself that we won't appear before any such committee. Our agitation will go on as usual. All the members of this Committee are pro-government and had been justifying the laws of the government," said Balbir Singh Rajewal, a member of the Bhartiya Kisan Union.
While staying the implementation of the three new farm laws, passed by Parliament in September last year, the Supreme Court announced a four-member panel to end the impasse between the government and the protesting farmers.
Bhupinder Singh Mann, President of Bhartiya Kisan Union; Anil Ghanwat, President of Shetkari Sangthana, Maharashtra; Pramod Kumar Joshi, director for South Asia, International Food Policy Research Institute, and agriculture economist Ashok Gulati have been named in the panel.
Gulati is an eminent agriculture scientist and he received Padma Shri award in 2015 for his contribution in this field. He was the youngest member of the Economic Advisory Council of the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee during the first NDA regime.
Pramod Kumar Joshi is the director for South Asia, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), New Delhi. Earlier, he had held the positions of director of the National Academy of Agricultural Research Management, Hyderabad as well as the National Centre for Agricultural Economics and Policy Research, New Delhi.
Farmer leader Bhupinder Singh Mann is the national president of Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU), which is part of the All India Kisan Coordination Committee. He was Rajya Sabha member from 1990-96.