The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the implementation of the three controversial farm laws which are at the centre of the farmers' agitation and said a committee would be formed to take over negotiations to end the crisis.
CJI SA Bobde on Monday made scathing observations against the Centre's Narendra Modi government for mishandling the farmers' protests, prompting Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to protest.
"We are not experts on economy... you tell us whether you are going to hold these laws or should we do it", the bench told the Centre. "One of the powers we have is to suspend the legislation", the Chief Justice said.
About the laws, the government said there was a deliberately "wrong perception created systematically by non-farmer elements" present at the protest site. This, the government said, is bound to create a "massive law and order" situation.
We are still thinking it is equally important that we stay the implementation of law without staying the laws, it observed.
Supreme Court asserts it's not stifling the protests The Supreme Court defended its move to set up a committee by asserting that it is not an attempt to stifle the protests - the protests can carry on. We do not why there is an insistence on the implementation of the laws. "We are doing this because you have failed to solve the problem..."
"This is a very delicate situation", the bench said, adding, "There is not a single petition before us which says that these farm laws are beneficial".
Our intention is to see if we can bring an amicable solution to the problem. That is why we had asked you (Centre) whether you are willing to keep these laws on hold for sometime.
It further submitted that "as a responsible government, it has taken all conceivable steps" to have an effective dialogue to remove any misgivings and to also ensure that specific grievances of agitating farmers are "discussed and sorted out so far as possible". That is an incomplete picture, the court said while citing the latest stay on the Maratha reservation by a three judge Bench.
When the AG referred to the incident in which a stage for the Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar was destroyed, the CJI said that the SC is not saying that it would support the law breakers.
The court recalled that in past hearings, it had given the Centre an option to make a statement that it will not go ahead with the implementation of the three laws till the contentious issues are resolved. Last time also you said negotiations are going on.
The court also said that if the laws are put on hold, the negotiations would be better. We don't know whether you are part of the solution or part of the problem. The court also said that it is sorry to say that the Centre has not been able to solve the problems. "Nothing of that sort will happen", Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, representing the farmers' unions, told the court.
"Whether you have faith or not, we are the Supreme Court of India, we will do our job, it told the farmer unions". However, the court clarified it had already held that the farmers' protest is perfectly valid, and there should not be any impression that it is trying to stifle the protest. Dave told the court that the laws put the livelihood of the farmers at risk. Try to persuade them, he said. If not cold, farmers are in danger of COVID, the bench said, and asked lawyers appearing for the farmers unions to persuade the protestors to go home. They need not be associated with the protest. "Please convey this message to them", CJI Bobde said.
That was the most innocuous factual thing for us to say, the bench responded.