SC panel on farm laws holds first meet, invites farmers for talks
A committee appointed by the Supreme Court to scrutinise three agricultural laws that have prompted farmers to stage a weeks-long protest held its first meeting on Tuesday and finalised its roadmap for wide consultations with farmers, farm collectives and unions as well as state governments and state-run agricultural organisations, a member said.
The committee will begin its consultations with farm unions on January 21. “Invitations have been sent to unions which are both pro- and anti-farm laws,” Anil Ghanwat, a member of the committee told HT.
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha, a platform of farm unions leading protests against the laws, has however said its members would not appear before the committee.
“We have said this before and reiterate that our demand is a complete repeal of the laws and we will only talk to the government,” said Balbir Singh Rajewal, a farm leader.
On January 12, after two days of deliberation, the Supreme Court stayed the pro-reforms farm laws approved by Parliament in September. Judges dealing with the case also appointed a four-man committee to look into farmers’ grievances over the laws.
The court named economists Ashok Gulati and Pramod Kumar Joshi as well as farm activists Bhupinder Singh Mann and Anil Ghanwat to the panel. A day later, Mann opted out of the committee, citing the “interests of farmers”.
Ghanwat, a member of the now three-member panel, said the committee has drawn up a list of categories of organisations which would be invited over the course of the consultations.
According to the Supreme Court’s instructions, the committee had to meet within 10 days of its constitution and submit a report to the apex court in two months.
“In our first meeting, we took note of our terms of reference and chalked out processes we will follow,” Ghanwat said. He said it was up to the Supreme Court to appoint a member in place of Mann, who has recused himself but the committee’s work would continue.
“Our basic terms of reference are to look into the laws and consult stakeholders to address grievances of farmers,” Anil Ghanwat said.