All four members on the panel appointed by the Supreme Court have openly supported the farm laws in recent days

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All four members on the panel appointed by the Supreme Court have openly supported the farm laws in recent days
Farmers in India, primarily from Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting against the country's new farm laws for over a month along the borders of New DelhiBCCL
  • The Supreme Court of India has decided to suspend the implementation of India’s three new farm laws until further notice.
  • Chief Justice of India SA Bobde instructed the formation of a four-member committee — all of whom are pro-reform — to bridge the divide between the government and the protestors.
  • The hearing will resume on January 18.
The Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bodbe has hit pause on India’s new farm laws. "We are going to suspend the implementation of the three farm laws until further orders", he said.

The apex court has also stepped in to resolve the deadlock between farmers unions and the government by constituting a committee of agricultural economists and experts. However, all four members — Ashok Gulati, PK Joshi, Bhupinder Singh Mann and Anil Ghanwat— are pro-reform. None are a part of the farmer groups who want the laws repealed entirely.


“We are forming a committee so that we have a clearer picture. We don't want to hear arguments that farmers will not go to the committee. We are looking to solve the problem," the Chief Justice said.
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A stay on the new farm laws means that while the laws have not been repealed, the government cannot forcefully implement them until further notice.

Members of the farm laws committee
Agricultural economist Ashok Gulati has been a vocal supporter of deregulating agricultural markets. “I’ve been asking for this for 20 years,” he told Business Insider in an earlier interview.

All four members on the panel appointed by the Supreme Court have openly supported the farm laws in recent days
Agricultural economist Ashok GulatiBI India

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Agricultural expert and former director of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) PK Joshi too is another propagator of the new farm laws. His published articles praise the government’s efforts to assuage the farmer’s concerns. “Scrapping the three farm laws will be disastrous for the entire agricultural sector, more so for the farmers,” he wrote in one the editorials published in the Financial Express

All four members on the panel appointed by the Supreme Court have openly supported the farm laws in recent days
Agricultural expert and former director of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) PK JoshiBCCL

The two farm union members — National President of the Bharatiya Kisan Union Bhupinder Singh Mann and President of the Shetkari Sanghatana Anil Ghanwat — are part of the pro-reform farm groups. In mid-December, the two met with Agriculture Minister NS Tomar and called for the implementation of the laws after bringing certain amendments to satisfy the protesters.

All four members on the panel appointed by the Supreme Court have openly supported the farm laws in recent days
National President of the Bharatiya Kisan Union Bhupinder Singh Mann (L) and President of the Shetkari Sanghatana Anil Ghanwat (R)BCCL

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India’s three new farm laws:
  1. Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agree of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act 2020
  2. Farmers Produce Trade & Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act
  3. Amendment to the Essential Commodities Act
In addition to the farmers’ objections to the new laws, it was also contended that the laws are unconstitutional. They were passed at the height of the pandemic at a time when the opposition had boycotted the Monsoon Session of Parliament and requests for a recorded vote — instead of a voice vote — were ignored.

Attorney General KK Venugopal added allegations that Khalistani’s have infiltrated the protests. “If there is an infiltration by a banned organization, and somebody is making an allegation here on record, you have to confirm it. You file an affidavit by tomorrow,” Bodbe told Venugopal.

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The hearing will resume on January 18.

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