Anil Ghanwat (one of the members of the committee set up by SC) speaks to media on SC on Agriculture Laws, in Pune on Tuesday. (ANI Photo)
Anil Ghanwat (one of the members of the committee set up by SC) speaks to media on SC on Agriculture Laws, in Pune on Tuesday. (ANI Photo)

Supreme Court-appointed panel to meet farmers on Jan 21

The Supreme Court had on January 12 suspended the pro-reforms farm laws approved by Parliament in September 2020 and also appointed a committee to look into farmers’ grievances over the laws.
By hindustantimes.com | Written by Meenakshi Ray, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 19, 2021 03:23 PM IST

A member of the committee appointed by the Supreme Court to examine the three farm laws, which have triggered protests by farmers, said it will meet farmers on Thursday, after holding its first round of internal consultations, news agency ANI reported on Tuesday. The news agency cited Anil Ghanwat, one of the members of the committee, as saying that they will hold talks with farmers' organisations which want to meet them in person. "Video conferencing will be held with those who can't come to us," Ghanwat said, according to ANI.

"If the government wants to come and speak with us, we welcome it. We will hear the government too. The biggest challenge is to convince the agitating farmers to come and speak with us, we will try our level best," he added.


Farmers have been protesting since November last year at Delhi's borders to demand the scrapping of three contentious farm laws, which they say will hurt their livelihoods. The Supreme Court had on January 12 suspended the pro-reforms farm laws approved by Parliament in September 2020 and also appointed a committee to look into farmers’ grievances over the laws. The court had named economists Ashok Gulati and Pramod Kumar Joshi and farm activists Bhupinder Singh Mann and Ghanwat as members of the panel. Mann opted out of the committee a day later, citing the “interests of farmers”.

Also read | After row, key farm leader says will not meet political parties

Ghanwat, a member of the now three-member panel, had told HT on Monday that the committee will start deliberations on Tuesday, which will include framing of issues before the committee. “In our first meeting, we will take note of our terms of reference and chalk 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.

Ghanwat has said the committee will examine the three farm laws and draw up a list of stakeholders for consultations, including farm unions, representatives of agribusinesses, scholars, scientists and even the government. “Our basic terms of reference are to look into the laws and consult stakeholders with the objective of addressing grievances of farmers,” Ghanwat, who heads the Shetkari Sangathan, a farm organisation from Maharashtra that advocates pro-technology and pro-reform agricultural policies, had said.

Also read | Decoding fine print of Supreme Court order on farm laws

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of farm unions leading protests against the laws, has however said its members would not appear before the committee. Farm unions have also said that all members of the top court-appointed committee had previously publicly praised the laws that farmers want to be scrapped.

The agriculturists have been protesting against the Farmers' (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act 2020, the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020.

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