Apex court concerned over farmers’ protest

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday expressed concern over the ongoing farmers’ protest against the recently enacted three farm laws at various Delhi borders.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde told Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta and Attorney General (AG) K.K. Venugopal, representing the Centre, “There is absolutely no improvement in the situation.”

Mehta submitted that the Centre is in discussion with the farmers to resolve their issues with the laws and since healthy talks are going on between the farmers and Centre, it would not be advisable to take up the matters immediately.

The AG said filing of response by the Centre may close avenues of negotiations underway between the farmers and Centre.

Venugopal added that there is a possibility that parties involved in discussion may come to a conclusion in the near future.

The bench also comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian agreed with AG and SG submissions, and said if it is told on Monday (January 11) that discussions are still underway, then it would adjourn the hearing.

“We understand the situation. We want to encourage the talks. We will keep matter on Monday and will adjourn if you say so”, said the Chief Justice.

The farmers’ protest against the three farm laws has been going on for more than a month.

The observations from the top court came during the hearing on a petition filed by advocate M.L. Sharma who challenged a 1954 amendment to the Constitution for putting agriculture in the concurrent list, which permitted the Centre to enact the farm laws. The top court issued notice on Sharma’s plea.

Tractor March

The protest by farmers camping at the borders of the national capital continued for the 43rd day on Thursday. The leaders of the farmers unions demanding the repeal of the three new farm laws and the procurement of crops at the Minimum Support Price (MSP) are now readying for a ‘Tractor March’ announced by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha on the Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressways on Thursday.

Harinder Singh Lakhowal, Punjab farmer leader and General Secretary of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), told IANS that preparations were on to intensify the agitation and make the programme on Thursday a success. He informed that farmers from Punjab are coming with their tractors for the march. Farmers from Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan are also joining the rally.
Farmers leaders said the ‘Tractor March’ would be a trailer of the ‘Republic Day Parade’ scheduled on January 26.

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