- Apprentice Lawyer
A Bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI), SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian also expressed disappointment at the manner in which the Centre has handled the issue observing that the central government has failed to solve the problem.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta vehemently argued that the Centre has done its best to resolve the deadlock and said that observations by the Court in that regard were "harsh".
The Court did not pass any order on Monday but remarked that it is likely to pass its order later in the day or on Tuesday.
"We might pass the order in part today and in part tomorrow," said CJI Bobde.
The Court also said that it will do its job as the apex court of the country.
"We are the Supreme Court of India and we will do our job," CJI Bobde remarked.
The CJI also hinted that the Court was in favour of shifting the protests site elsewhere.
"We don't want anyone to say that we stifled the protest. But it needs to be seen if protesters can be removed a bit from there," CJI Bobde remarked.
He further emphasised that the the Court is not encouraging law breakers.
"It 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 breaking of law. We propose to pass this order to prevent loss of life and property," CJI Bobde said.
We don't want anybody's injury or blood on our hands, the Court stated while demanding why the Centre was insisting on not keeping the law in abeyance till the matter was solved.
"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 Bobde asked.
Attorney General KK Venugopal, representing the Centre, objected to the stay stating that the laws are within the legislative competence of the Parliament and are intended to benefit the farmers.
"A law cannot be stayed unless its beyond legislative competence or violative of Fundamental rights of against any constitutional provision. Farm Laws are for their benefit," he said.
He also highlighted that farmers from South India have not protested against the laws.
"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," Venugopal added.
But the Court maintained that staying the implementation of the law would help ease the tension and prevent any probable violence.
"Who is going to be responsible for blood shed? We need to uphold Article 21 as a Constitutional court. What if some conflagration takes place," the Bench demanded.
CJI Bobde also asked various farmers unions and organisations, who were party to the matter, to persuade the women, old and child protesters to go back to their native places.
"Can you convey to them that the Chief Justice has made this request," he told Senior Advocates Dushyant Dave and HS Phoolka who were appearing for the farmers.
"Mr.Phoolka you persuade them to go back. At some point of time, we might say in our order that old people and women need not be there in the protests," he added.
All the while, the Court maintained that the object of the hearing was to bring the farmers to the discussion table before a committee which the Court was proposing to constitute.
In this regard, the Court also asked parties to suggest names of former judges who could head the committee.
While Dushyant Dave suggested the name of former CJI RM Lodha, the Central government said that it will get back to the Court on this aspect tomorrow.
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 were assailed before the Court as illegal, arbitrary and unconstitutional.
"They will pave the way for cartelization and commercialization of agriculture produced and if allowed to stand will completely ruin our country as the corporates can, with one stroke, export our agriculture produce without any regulation," one of the petitioners submitted.
It was also contended that the laws passed are "unconstitutional" and "anti-farmer," as it would dismantle the Agriculture Produce Market Committee system intended to ensure fair prices for farm products.