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Fate of Farm bills hangs in balance

By Satish Sharma

The fate of Farm bills hangs in balance

The Supreme Court ruling for suspending the implementation of the three controversial farm laws may give one feeling of contentment even though it does 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, and Kerala , Chhattisgarh have adopted  three (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.

Against 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 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 fulfilment 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, this 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 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 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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