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Farmers’ protests | No progress in talks with farmers: Supreme Court

Farmers during 41st day of protest on new farm law issue at Singhu Border, in New Delhi on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

The Supreme Court on Wednesday pointed out to the government that there had been no breakthrough in the impasse between the Centre and thousands of farmers standing firm on their demands to repeal three controversial agricultural laws and to provide legal backing for minimum support price (MSP).

“The situation has no improvement at all,” Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde addressed Attorney General K.K. Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, the two top law officers of the country, during a virtual court hearing.

Also read: Farmers’ protest | There’s little hope of a breakthrough, says BKU(U)

Mr. Venugopal, however, on a positive note, said “there are chances that the parties may come to some understanding”. Both he and Mr. Mehta said that for this reason the government did not want, for now, to file a counter-affidavit in the Supreme Court to petitions regarding the farm laws and the farmers’ protest.

“Our counter is ready. But there is healthy discussions going on. So we have not filed it [in the Supreme Court],” Mr. Mehta submitted.

Several rounds of talks between the government and farmer leaders have been inconclusive so far.

Pleas posted to Monday

The CJI posted all the petitions concerning the farmers’ issue on Monday, but said that it could be adjourned if the Attorney General found it necessary for the sake of the ongoing talks.

“We may adjourn the matter if you say so...” Chief Justice Bobde addressed Mr. Venugopal.

The court also issued notice to the government on a separate petition filed by advocate Manohar Lal Sharma, challenging the Third Constitutional Amendment of 1954 which included Entry 33, concerning food and essential commodities, in the Concurrent List.

“This is one of Mr. Sharma’s startling petitions... He says you [government] have been committing illegalities since 1954,” Chief Justice Bobde told Mr. Venugopal in a lighter vein.

Mr. Venugopal, however, wondered how a person could challenge a constitutional amendment in a writ petition.

On December 17, in the last hearing in the farmers’ case, the Supreme Court said the farmers had a constitutional right to continue with their “absolutely perfect” protest as long as their dissent against the three controversial agricultural laws did not slip into violence.

The court had also cautioned the Centre against trying to “instigate” violence. Chief Justice Bobde had stressed that as fellow Indians the judges too understood the problems of the farmers.

But Mr. Venugopal had strongly objected to the farmers’ conduct. He had said the farmers could not corner the government into a ‘yes or no’ to their demand to repeal the laws.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2021 2:45:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/sc-to-hear-pleas-against-farm-laws-issues-related-to-farmers-protest-on-january-11/article33508956.ece

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