The Supreme Court recently recognized constitutional rights of farmers to non-violent protests, and said it was considering to set up “impartial and independent” panel of agriculture experts and farmer unions to resolve the impasse over three farm laws.
The Supreme Court said “The farmers’ protest will soon become a national issue”, suggesting that an answer be found urgently through negotiations. The bench comprising justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian said “We acknowledge the right of farmers to protest but it has to be non-violent” and at the same time the bench asked the farmers and the government to “talk to each other”, as it underlined that every demonstration must also pave the way for a “meaningful discussion”.
The court further indicated that the Centre’s attempt at negotiations could fail and suggested a panel be formed with all stakeholders’ representatives — the farmers’ associations also as government nominees. The court has also issued notice to the Centre because the Delhi, Punjab and Haryana governments said they’re going to need a response before winter vacation begins.
Five rounds of meetings have taken place between the government and the representatives of several farmers who have been protesting. Union Home Minister Amit Shah also met the farmers, but the farmers have rejected the government’s offer in making amendments to the three laws that were brought out in September.
Farmers want the three laws to be scrapped and have also told that assurances on Minimum Support Price would not be enough. During the hearing of a batch of petitions, the Centre said the Supreme Court that the government is ready for negotiations and have also brought draft amendments.
Centre complains that the difficulty is on the farmers part because they neglect to talk to many ministers. The government also added that many other interests have taken over the farmers protest, without naming anybody.
When the government mentioned that these bills would not go against the farmers, Justice Bobde, who led the bench, asked if these bills were beneficial if it adversely affected the farmers. Justice Bobde has put forward several questions to the government, asking them to name the organizations involved if any. He also added that this will become a national issue and can be solved only through negotiations. A series of petitions were filed both for and against the protest, by the Supreme Court. The outcome of these panel discussion is yet to be known.
The Supreme Court has told that the farmers have the right to protest, but that shouldn’t be affecting the other fundamental rights. The protests have gathered worldwide attention and farmers are still protesting in the Capital while the government is blaming the opposition for misleading the farmers about the laws.