- Apprentice Lawyer
The Supreme Court is hearing the challenges made to the validity of the recently enacted Farm Acts. Also before the Supreme Court are petitions challenging the ongoing farmers' protests in reaction to the controversial laws.
Live updates from the hearings today feature on this page.
Attorney General KK Venugopal: Parties have indicated that discussions will be continued till January 15
CJI: We are extremely disappointed with the way Centre is dealing with this. What consultative process has been followed for Farm Bills that entire States are up in rebellion?
AG Venugopal reads out the details of the consultative process. States how the State APMC acts were amended and states that such amendments started during the previous regime
CJI: Mr Attorney, please understand it will not help you that some other government started it
CJI: This whole thing has been going on. What negotiation has been going on?
AG: Farmer unions are saying either repeal the Farm Acts or protest will continue
CJI: We are not on repeal. This is delicate situation
CJI: Our intention is to see if we can bring about an amicable resolution to the problem. That is why we asked you why don't you put the Farm Bills on hold. You want time for negotiation. If there is some sense of responsibility showing that you will not implement the laws, then we can form a committee with ICAR members to look into this. Till then, you can continue to put the law on hold. Why will you insist on continuing the law anyhow?
CJI: I am not understanding whether you are part of problem or solution?
SG: We are part of solution. So many organizations have come to us from farmer unions and stated that the laws are progressive and that we should not give in
CJI: Let those farmer unions who say it is progressive say that before the committee. But you have to tell us whether you stay the Farm Acts or we do it? Keep it in abeyance. What is the issue? We are not in favour of easily staying a law, but we want to say don't implement law
CJI: People are committing suicides. People are suffering cold. Who is taking care of water and food? Old people and women are in the ground. Why are old people in the farmer protests? We don't want to comment on the agitation
CJI: We propose to form a committee and if the government does not, then we will stay the implementation of the Farm Acts
Advocate AP Singh: We have faith on you..
Court: We are the Supreme Court of India and we will do our job
Senior Advocate Harish Salve: On Minimum Support Price, we have agreed upon. All areas on which they are not agreeing with the Centre can be resolved by judicial orders. The objectionable parts of law can be stayed
CJI: Talks are breaking down because Centre wants to discuss point by point of law and farmers want it to be repealed. We will stay the implementation of the Farm Acts
CJI: After the implementation of Farm laws are stayed, you can carry on protest and we don't want anyone to say that we stifled the protest. But it needs to be seen then if protesters can be removed a bit from there
CJI: Frankly, we have an apprehension that there will be some incident which may breach the peace. It may be intended or unintended
Senior Advocate Vikas Singh: There needs to be guidelines for protesters
CJI: The people who are protesting are not reading guidelines. We don't want anybody's injury or blood on our hands!
Senior Advocate Harish Salve: Then this large human gathering has to be called off and they should go before the committee
CJI: Responsibility is on all of us. Any stray incident can spark violence. All of it cannot be achieved in a single order. As a court, we will not pass any order saying that you cannot protest. But we can say that it is not the only place to protest.
Advocate ML Sharma submits that unless Article 369 of the Constitution is amended, no law can be passed 5 years after the constitution came into force
CJI: We are not able to understand your petition. We will hear you later.
Senior Advocate Vivek Tankha appears for Madhya Pradesh based farmers
Tankha: We have come to this Court challenging the validity of three Farm Laws. I welcome the suggestion to keep laws on hold. There are huge issues on payment to the farmer under these new acts.
CJI: There is one political party which says we should not pronounce on policy of law. This is the quality of public discourse. This is what I read in the papers today
AG Venugopal: None of the petitions point to any provision of three farm acts stating that it is unconstitutional.
CJI: We are not declaring it unconstitutional
AG: Laws cannot be stayed. This is drastic
CJI: We are doing this because you have failed to solve the problem ... Union of India has to take the responsibility. The laws has resulted into a strike and now you have to solve the strike.
AG: Let them come and say to the committee but don't stay it
CJI: We are aware of verdicts. You are citing the Maratha Reservation verdict delivered by Justice L Nageswara Rao.
AG Venugopal: There are other judgments too (reads citations)
AG: Law cannot be stayed unless its beyond legislative competence or violative of Fundamental rights of against any constitutional provision. None of the petitioners have argued on this. Each one of this in support of farmers and Farm Laws are in their benefit.
AG: Farmers from South India have not protested. Why? Because the laws are for their benefit. That is why we are asking them to understand the law. Haryana CM also wanted to meet the farmers but the entire set up of the meeting was destroyed. Press reporters were assaulted
CJI: We should not be understood that we are protecting any law breaker. If someone breaks the law, they will face the consequences sequences. We are not encouraging the breaking of law. We propose to pass this order to prevent loss of life and property.
AG: Please direct that what happened with Haryana CM cannot happen. On January 26, 2,000 tractors will be driven to Rajpath to destroy the ceremony.
Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave: Nothing of that sort will happen.
CJI: We are happy to hear Mr Dave. We thought the same.
CJI: These issues will be taken care by Police. Right to protest is intact and Gandhiji excercised Satyagraha. That agitation was much bigger.
Dave: Our unions have maintained complete discipline. Nothing happened in 48 days. Just a day before hearing, a meeting of CM was planned
Senior Advocate Dave: No one has invited the women and old. They have come in their own because it is about their existence. Bajra was being sold 400 rupees below MSP in open market. It is difficult for the farmers to sustain. Lot of farmer leaders are being prevented to join protests.
CJI: We are still thinking. It is equally effective if we stay the implementation of the law without staying the law
AG: It is the same thing.
CJI: We can always stay a legitimate executive action under a law
Dave: Every member from Punjab family is in the army. No one is going to disturb the republic day parade. We have been asking for three months to let us protest in Ramlila Maidaan. Why can't they be allowed to go there?
Dave: These are historical grounds where there is a right to protest. We are helpless and we need to show how affected we are. We all know these farm acts were passed in the Rajya Sabha. It was disturbing.
AG: We are meeting in 15th, can you wait till then?
CJI: We do not think Centre is handling the issue correctly. We have to take some action today. We don't think you are being effective.
Senior Advocate PS Narasimha appears for Indian Kisan Union: Large number of organizations believe that this law is beneficial for them. Before any interim order is granted, we need to be heard.
CJI: Even if your argument is valid, it does not help the solution to the problem
Senior Advocate Narasimha: Please don't pass an interim order today. Let the AG take instructions and let the meeting happen.
CJI: We will make the atmosphere comfortable and conducive for talks. Till then the farm laws can be put on hold. Who is going to be responsible for bloodshed? We need to uphold Article 21 as a constitutional court. What if some conflagration takes place?
Dave: Why can't the government call a joint session of the Parliament and have a debate again on this?
Senior Advocate Harish Salve: There must be an assurance ... peace is being threatened by large group of people. Sikhs for Justice, a Vancouver based organization has put up posters that 10,000 will be paid to anyone who joins the protest
Salve: There must be an assurance that farmers will not turn their back even if the Farm Acts are put on hold.
CJI: We are not having a last hearing. They will appear before the committee. Mr Dave has said so.
Dave: There are 400 organisations and we need to seek instructions on appearing before the committee
CJI: You appeared before the government and now not committee
Dave: I just need to seek instructions.
Senior Advocate Salve: Your Lordship does not generally stay a law. But has the power to do so. But it should not be like government is pushed to the backfoot and the protest continues.
CJI: You understand us. You cannot demand a repeal of the law when the law is not in force.
Advocate Rahul Mehra appears for the Government of NCT Delhi: There is a complete trust deficit for the farmers as far as the Centre is concerned. The solution by you is compassionate and concerning. Senior citizens and everyone is affected. Who is Mr Salve representing? Looks like some government
Advocate Rahul Mehra: Currently, it's the ego of certain governments which is not allowing a fair dialogue.
Advocate Hari Om Sharma appears for Rajasthan based farmers stating that they want the laws to be implemented. Advocate MP Devnath for Confederation of All India Traders seeks implementation. Advocate Archana Pathak Dave appears for a South Indian farmers body and seeks implementation
Advocate Ajay Chaudhary appears for Kisan Mahapanchayat, who have been stopped from entering Delhi from Haryana: We seek the laws to be set aside. Putting laws on hold will put the situation in balance.
Advocate Ashish Sonavane: We appear on behalf of Bhartiya Kisan Sangathan and instead of staying the implementation there can be a commission and we can represent there.
CJI: You cannot persuade the Punjab farmers. Can you? We are proposing to pass this order to facilitate resolution of this problem by a committee chosen by us
Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves appears for a number of farmer unions: The unions had appointed a committee of four lawyers which had Dushyant Dave, Prashant Bhushan, HS Phoolka and me. All of us will go back and consult unions and take a stand on this
CJI: Who will take responsibility for loss of life and property? This is the most important component of our view.
Senior Advocate HS Phoolka: I am assisting Mr Dave. In the protest there are number of people who are not protesters. There are girls who have been caught there. The people have caught some people in protest who say they are sent by police
Phoolka: 40 trolleys from my village are there and old people are there. They are here for their son and children.
CJI: In case we stay the implementation, then there is nothing to fight for here, especially the old.
CJI: Everybody is welcome to come to Delhi and watch Republic day parade. If so, many lakhs people enter Delhi people fear there must be destruction of life and property. However, law and order matter is not with this Court but police
Phoolka: We have tried to convince the old people but they refused.
CJI: Please tell them Chief Justice of India and asks them to leave, see if they are convinced.
AG KK Venugopal: 2,000 farmers have got into contracts with traders under these laws. If you stay the law, then the 2,000 farmers will heavily lose. If implementation is stayed, then what cannot be done directly will be done indirectly
AG: When they go before the committee, will they only demand withdrawal of the farm acts? If they only demand this, then the committee will yield no result. They need to give suggestion, clause by clause, if its not in their interest etc.
CJI: We must hope and trust lawyers like Dushyant Dave and Prashant Bhushan to convey the purpose of having a committee. The committee will tell us if the laws are in public interest.
CJI: I had spoken to former CJI P Sathasivam. He does not understand Hindi. So he can't be a part of the committee.
AG: They have to given an assurance they will not only demand repeal. If such an assurance is not given, then please don't stay it.
CJI: Why should we not be in a hurry not to stay it? Mr Attorney don't lecture us about patience.
CJI: We have given you a long rope.
Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta: There were harsh observations regarding handling of the incident.
CJI: That was the most innocuous factual thing for us to say..
SG Mehta: At the highest level decision was taken. Some unions used to come who turned their chairs back when Ministers sat for meeting or covered their ears and eyes.
CJI: We can't say anything on this.
SG: We did our best.
CJI: It does not appear to have taken that effect
CJI SA Bobde says an order might be passed today in part and then again tomorrow. Bench rises for today. Hearing again tomorrow