16 Jan 2021 3:32 PM GMT
A farmers' union has requested the Supreme Court to remove the remaining three members of the Committee constituted by the Top Court for the purpose of holding talks between the Central Government and the farmers for a resolution of the protests due to the three contentious farm laws. Filed by Bhartiya Kisan Union Lokshakti, the Reply making this request has been filed in response to...
A farmers' union has requested the Supreme Court to remove the remaining three members of the Committee constituted by the Top Court for the purpose of holding talks between the Central Government and the farmers for a resolution of the protests due to the three contentious farm laws.
Filed by Bhartiya Kisan Union Lokshakti, the Reply making this request has been filed in response to an Application filed by the Delhi Police seeking for an injunction of a tractor rally that is proposed to be held on Republic Day. The Reply notes that on 12th January, 2021, the Supreme Court suspended the three farm laws and constituted a Committee for resolving the deadlock between the Central Government and the farmers. The names of Bhupinder Singh Mann, Ashok Gulati, Pramod Kumar Joshi and Anil Ghanwat were proposed as members of the Committee. It is submitted in the Reply that by the appointing the four aforementioned members, the principle of natural justice is violated as it has been conveyed by all four members in public domain that they support the farm laws. Further, in light of Bhupinder Singh Mann, ex-MP and National President of BKU, recusing himself from the Committee, there exists a burden on the other three members to stand down as well. In supporting the above prayer, the Reply contends that the rest of the members have also exhibited their support for the farm laws through articles penned down in various newspapers and interviews. Invoking the rule of "nemo judex in causa sua", i.e. no one should be made a judge in his cause, and the rule of fair hearing, the Reply states that without the Principle of Natural Justice being observed, a fair decision cannot be arrived at. "When all committee members appointed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court already in the favour of these three farm laws and already support the laws which made and passed by the central govt. without enough discussion with farmers then how they can make fair report without any biasness before the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India". Consequently, the Reply prays for the dismissal of the Application filed by the Delhi Police and requests the Supreme Court to remove the three members from the Committee and appoint those persons who can make a report "on the basis of mutual harmony, who can think fully about the interest of the farmers of India with impartiality, trust, goodwill, and appoint neutral and impartial personality of the country, not related to any political party, i.e. Hon'ble Retd. Justice of Supreme Court or President of replying applicant and other President of farmers organization…" The Supreme Court on 12th January constituted a 4 member committee for the purpose of holding talks between the Central Government and the farmers to resolve the protests over the three contentious farm laws.
A notable feature of the composition was that all four members have expressed open views in support of the implementation of the farm laws.
Shri Bhupinder Singh Mann, who was a former MP of the Rajya Sabha, had in December led a delegation which met the Union Agriculture Minister to demand the implementation of the three laws, with certain amendments.
"Reforms are needed in order to make agriculture competitive. But safeguards are needed to protect farmers, and anomalies must also be corrected," he had said.
Mann's organization BKU was part of the protests at the beginning.
As per another report, the act of Mann meeting the Minister was not appreciated by other protesting farmers, who accused the government of trying to 'divide and defame' their movement, while 'sweet-talking' them into conceding amendments in the laws.
Soon after the Chief Justice of India announced the names on Tuesday afternoon, many persons pointed out in social media that the composition of the committee reflects only a single view which is in support of the laws.
The composition of the Committee with members who support the implementation of laws have baffled many. Senior Advocate and former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram said "the composition of the four member committee is puzzling and sends contradictory signals".
Dr Pramod Kumar Joshi, Agricultural Economist, Director for South Asia, International Food Policy Research Institute
Dr Pramod Kumar Joshi, recently co-authored an article in the Financial Express which said "any dilution in the farm laws will constrain Indian agriculture to harness emerging global opportunities".
While strongly supporting the merits of the laws, the article said that "farmers are a victim of misinformation in the absence of effective communication from the government".
"It seems that some activists and political elements (who presumably would like to keep the disquiet alive for a long time) have hijacked the agitation by colouring the farm laws with a distorted narrative", the article stated.
Ashok Gulati, Agricultural Economist and Former Chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices
Ashok Gulati has argued in an article written in the Indian Express that the farm laws are in the right direction. He commented that the opposition has been misguided. He said that the laws will "make Indian agriculture globally competitive, and benefit farmers and consumers alike".
Also, in an interview given to Karan Thappar for 'The Wire', Gulati repeatedly made it clear that he supports the government's agricultural reforms which he believes are very necessary. He suggested the suspension of the farm laws for 6 months to compensate the farmers but strongly argued against total repeal of the laws.
Anil Ghanwat, who heads the Maharashtra based Shetkari Sanghatana, is someone who has openly said that the laws must not be withdrawn. He has expressed the view that the laws have opened up opportunities for the farmers and must be implemented but with some amendments.