The Indian Supreme Court has decided to set up a panel to hear a new agricultural law that has led to farmers’ protests and issued an indefinite stay order on the law.
According to the media reports, Chief Justice Sharad Bobde said during the hearing that the Supreme Court would form a panel to hear the concerns of farmers.
It may be recalled that thousands of farmers on the outskirts of the Indian capital, New Delhi, have set up protest camps against the government’s reforms, which they say have benefited private buyers and harmed farmers.
Chief Justice Sharad Bobade said, “We have the power to form a committee and the committee can report to us.”
He issued an indefinite stay order on the law to be issued in September 2020.
“We will protect the farmers,” he said.
No further details were released by the Indian Supreme Court in this regard.
Officials say the law aims to innovate the agricultural system so that barriers to supply can be broken.
Farmers, on the other hand, have strongly protested the withdrawal of the law, saying it is an attempt to end the long-running practice of ensuring farmers get a minimum price for their crops.
Read also: Intensification of farmers’ protests: Indian government ready to consider further changes in the laws.
The government had said that there was no question of ending the procedure while the eight rounds of consensus talks had ended meaninglessly and the two sides would meet again next week.
It may be recalled that the agrarian reform law in India was passed in September and the farmers’ protest has been going on since then, which intensified when the protesters marched towards the Indian capital.
Thousands of farmers have committed suicide in recent years due to the drought and the growing debt burden.
The legislation was enacted earlier last year that would give farmers the freedom to sell their products to anyone at any price of their choice, instead of selling it in specific markets at state-fixed rates.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed it as a “complete transformation in the agricultural sector” that would encourage the investment and innovation needed to empower “millions of farmers”.
However, the Congress, the main opposition party in Punjab, had backed the protest, saying the change had left farmers at the mercy of a large corporation.
The laws, passed by Narendra Modi’s government after a brief debate in parliament in September, had particularly infuriated politically influential peasant groups in the agricultural states of Punjab and Haryana.
With these rules, small farmers fear that when big corporate players enter the market, they will not get any protection from the government regarding prices.