When the Supreme Court of India heard various parties on the issue of Farmer’s protests on January 11, it set up a committee of 4-members to facilitate all sides to address their arguments. The Apex Court hoped the committee would be able to break the ice and finally a solution would be found. Four members announced by the Apex Court were – Bhupinder Singh Mann (National President of Bharatiya Kisan Union), Dr. Pramod Kumar Joshi, Ashok Gulati (Agricultural Economist) and Anil Ghanwat (President of Shetkari Sanghatana).
The Apex Court also ordered that the committee would have a first sitting (hearing) within 10 days of the order and report to the court within 8 weeks of the first sitting/hearing. The court urged all parties and stakeholders to put their case to the committee.
The order was pronounced by a three-judge Bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI), SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.
As a sweetener, a big sweetener, the Apex Court also stayed the three laws, – Farmers (Empowerment & Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance & Farm Services Act 2020, Farmers Produce Trade & Commerce (Promotion & Facilitation) Act & Amendment to Essential Commodities Act have until further orders.
To make things worse for any possible solution, a big chunk of farmers groups represented by senior Supreme Court lawyers – Dushyant Dave and H. S. Phoolka did not appear.
“I didn’t appear in #SupremeCourt today under instructions of my clients #FarmersUnions. Client decide which lawyer to appear. Farmers told me that as case is listed today for orders only, so I need not appear” HS Phoolka wrote on Twitter.
I didn’t appear in #SupremeCourt today under instructions of my clients #FarmersUnions. Client decide which lawyer to appear. Farmers told me that as case is listed today for orders only, so I need not appear.
— H S Phoolka (@hsphoolka) January 12, 2021
Losing no time, all those not in favour of the chosen members and with their manipulative agendas went in overdrive attacking the Supreme Court for choosing the members they chose. Particularly lethal was the Congress party. Shashi Tharoor ridiculed the highest court in the country by tweeting the ‘hard work’ done by it.
“Forming this committee must have been a real challenge. How to find four people from among the very few in the country supporting the farm bills to be in it? They managed that; now how will they manage to find a solution with four minds already made up?”, Shashi Tharoor tweeted.
Forming this committee must have been a real challenge. How to find four people from among the very few in the country supporting the farm bills to be in it? They managed that; now how will they manage to find a solution with four minds already made up? https://t.co/rAJuUAXFv6
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) January 12, 2021
Replying to @ShashiTharoor
You sound like a man suffering from severe ED – watching a man preparing to propose to a girl who is not interested in any relationship. Your priority should be to find a remedy for your own problem first.
The attack on the committee members was relentless. Attackers accused the Supreme Court of constituting the committee with people who had already made up their minds to side with the government. The virulent attacks casted aspersions on the integrity of the Committee members.
Succumbing to the pressure put by the Congress and other parties, Bhupinder Singh Mann has recused himself from the committee citing the “prevailing sentiments and apprehensions amongst the farm unions and public in general”.
“I am ready to sacrifice any position offered or given to me so as not to compromise the interests of Punjab and farmers of the country,” Mann said in a press statement.
Bhupinder Singh Mann has said he “ will always stand with my farmers and Punjab”.
Khalistanis infiltrate protests
Appearing for the government of India, Attorney General KK Venugopal told the Court that the Central government has received information that Khalistanis have infiltrated the farmers protests.
“Mr Attorney an allegation has been made against a banned organisation that it is trying to fund the protest.. can you confirm or deny this?”, CJI Bobde asked.
“We have said that Khalistanis have infiltrated the protests,” responded Venugopal while stating that Centre will place arguments to that effect on affidavit.
Application in the Supreme Court to stop tractor rally on January 26
Attorney General KK Venugopal also pointed out that a tractor rally is being planned to be held on Republic Day which needs to be stopped and the Delhi police has filed an application before the Supreme Court for an injunction to stop the rally.
“Once they are allowed in the city, we don’t know where all they will they be going and which all place they will go to agitate,” Venugopal contended.
The Supreme Court has issued notice on that application and posted it for hearing on January 18.