Today's Paper

SC stays implementation of three controversial farm laws

Not relenting:Farmers continuing their protest against the new agriculture laws at the Ghazipur border in New Delhi on Tuesday.SANDEEP SAXENASANDEEP SAXENA  

The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the implementation of three controversial farm laws, calling its order “extraordinary” and a “victory for fair play”.

The stay on the implementation of the laws means that the Centre cannot, for the time being, proceed with any executive actions to enforce the laws.

The court formed a four-member committee of experts “to listen to the grievances of the farmers on the laws and the views of the government and make recommendations”.

At one point in the 11-page order, a three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde said the formation of an expert committee “may create a congenial atmosphere and improve the trust and confidence of the farmers”.

The stay, the court said, “may assuage the hurt feelings of the farmers” and make them confident enough to scythe their way to the negotiating table in good faith.

In a concluding paragraph of the order, the court said the farmers’ bodies would “perceive” the “extraordinary” stay as an achievement of their peaceful protest “at least for the present”. It may convince these organisations to “encourage” their members to go home to their livelihoods and thus, protect their lives and health and that of others too.

The court said several rounds of negotiations between the Centre and the farmers had produced no results, even as senior citizens, women and children among the protesters were exposed to serious health hazards posed by the cold and the spread of COVID-19.