very one, mistakenly, thought that it’s a sad commentary on the functioning of the country’s executive that finally made the Supreme Court get exasperated by its dilatory tactic on the three contentious farm laws passed recently. The impression was sought to be created on 11 January by the SC that while the proverbial “law’s delay” more often than not applied to the judiciary, it is actually the government which is “buying time” over the stalemate arising from the farmers’ agitation against the laws and the government’s obduracy not to concede the demand for their annulment was not appreciable. Many heaved a sigh of relief thinking the Apex Court, coming under heavy fire after most of its recent past judgements seemed government dictated, probably now wanted to break free and take an independent path.
Alas, that does not seem to be the case. Come 12 January and the Court took a two pronged path. While ordering a stay on the implementation of the laws, it also formed a 4-member committee of so called experts in the field of agriculture. The agitating farmers, however, probably had a notion that there could be some twist in the tale at the time of appointing the members to the committee. Their assumption seems to have turned true.
The game of hide-and-seek that the government was playing with the farmers ended when the agitators rejected the Supreme Court’s suggestion of forming a committee to assess whether the controversial laws are beneficial to the farmers or not. The farmers’ decision not to fall into another trap to delay matters should be easily understandable.
That is why the united farmers’ union has hardened its stand and said all the farmers’ organisations spearheading the agitation are unanimous in their decision that the laws must be repealed forthwith and have decided not to attend the committee formed by the apex court.
On the other hand, the Centre has made it clear before the court that it will not agree to any discussion for repealing the farm laws before the committee. In order to discredit the agitators, the government still keeps harping that farmers of only Punjab are vocal against the farm laws. It is also continuing with its efforts to shepherd a friendly group of farmers’ organisations to denounce the agitation and find merits in the new laws.
The agitating farmers have seen through the ploy and stated in clear terms that they condemn the government’s “false” propaganda that the agitation is confined only to farmers of Punjab. They have reminded the government that thousands of farmers from Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and some other states have assembled on the borders of Delhi, while thousands more are protesting at various places in different states.
While the farmers do not really need to prove any point in a country such as India, it is the court and the government which should now struggle to find credibility for themselves at this point in history.