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Farmers’ Stir in legal quagmire

By Satish Sharma

Farmers’ Stir in a legal quagmire

New Delhi/Jaipur, Jan 14: The Supreme Court order of Tuesday gives space and scope to farmers and other opponents of controversial farm laws, to fight for and defend their cause in the legal battle.

This needs proactive participation of the supporting Congress and other outfits, in the ongoing legal proceedings.

This becomes more pertinent against the grand old party’s stated stance against the Govt over the issue of three laws and the procedure of their passage in parliament.

While talking to media persons the opposition party spokesperson and renowned lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi accused the Govt of misleading the Supreme Court and condemned the enactment of the legislation in reference, as “an act of deception, dupery and defrauding”.

Mr. Singhvi said “This is a serious example of the Central government misleading the Hon’ble Apex Court and misrepresenting to the people of India. The passage of legislation is an act of deception, dupery, and defrauding”.

So, it would be better for the opposition party to make such a statement before the top court.

All those who are identified as opponents to the controversial laws should rally behind farmers in their in-progress legal battle for a conclusive end.

The above-referred court ruling of Tuesday that has suspended the implementation of the three laws may give one feeling of contentment even though it did not offer an immediate solution to agitation by farmers.

A day before delivering the order on Tuesday, the apex court had given advisory to the Centre for graciously putting on-hold, on its own, the ‘disputed’ legislations.

However, the BJP led Govt did not entertain the advice hinting at its unmoved stance on the issue and also the possibility of a longer and more complicated legal battle and agitation.

After all, Parliament has the powers to enact laws, and situations of court interventions in that arena, are certainly unfortunate and worrisome.

However, the onus to avert such conflicting situations should logically be on politicians. This is possible when each and every bill is drafted, moved, discussed, and adopted in the house exercising the entire process thoroughly in a prescribed and inclusive manner.

These days, this essential procedural sanctity is lacking on many occasions. Many times, the bills are rushed in the house for passage summarily without even due debates, amid din and protests from the opposition benches.

In the process of legislating on three bills in reference, members from many parties were not happy with the objectives of the proposed laws and the “hasty” process of their enactment. So, those bills were also passed amid uproar and protests by the opposition.

Moreover, enactment of the law evoked sharp reaction from the peasantry as well as the Congress and other non-NDA opposition parties, who took it to the streets for protracted nationwide stir.

Some states like Rajasthan, Punjab, Kerala, and Chhattisgarh have adopted (counter) bills in the respective legislative assemblies to negate the promulgation of the Centre’s laws. Similar actions by some other states like West Bengal can not be ruled out in near future. This gave rise to a tussle between (such) states and the Centre as the BJP appointed governors in these states turned cold feet towards Presidential nod to the state legislations.

In the backdrop of such (conflicting) situation, the apex court’s order for suspension of the three laws not only embarrassed the Narendra Modi led Govt but also put in a fix, the stance of the Rajbhawan for delaying requisite presidential nod for the state laws.

This is the bright spot in the SC order that in a way vindicated the agitating farmer’s position even though it didn’t pave the way for the immediate end of their agitation and fulfillment of the demand of repealing the laws.

However, it provided peasants more suitable grounds for waging their struggle and mount pressures on the Govt.

The point of apprehension for farmers, in the court order, is about the composition of the committee constituted by the SC. The agitating farmers have expressed their reservations against the court’s choice of members on the panel. They dubbed as pro-Govt, the experts/ members inducted in the committee. Accordingly, they have decided to boycott its proceedings.

Even against all odds, their task can be dealt with effectively and suitably. If they don’t want to go before the panel, be it so, according to their will. Political parties supporting their cause may very well make strong points before the SC committee in their favor. They may make written representation countering Govt’s stance before the committee as well as the apex court through supporting political parties and other sympathizers with the help of experts of their stream.

Proper written representation before the court through the committee by them and their sympathizing political and union allies can very well mitigate their apprehensions, provided they record their (counter) point appropriately in writing. No court in any situation does ignore recorded pleas.

So, SC order of Tuesday being dubbed as short of expectations by the apprehensive farmers may still provide space to them to fight for a cause, on different fronts, and survive, provided they along with supporting parties and some state governments act in cohesion.

They may even attempt to convince the state governments–opposing the three laws, for becoming co-parties in the petitions before the court. Such states may file even their own petitions.

END

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