Inherent safeguards in farm laws, farmers misled that their land will be taken away: Centre to SC

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New Delhi, Jan 12 (PTI) The Centre Tuesday told the Supreme Court that there are “inherent safeguards” in the new agri laws for protection of land of farmers, who have been “misled” that their lands will be taken away.

The government told a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde, which stayed the implementation of the contentious three new farm laws till further orders, that it will be ensured that no farmer will lose his land.

“Misapprehensions have been made that your (farmers) land will go and it will be taken away. That is how the farmers have been misled,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.

“Insofar as the apprehension regarding MSP (Minimum Support Price) being done away with, it is submitted across the Bar that the same may not be dismantled. The Solicitor General also confirmed that there are inherent safeguards, in-built in the farm laws, for the protection of the land of the farmers and that it will be ensured that no farmer will lose his land,” the bench noted in its 11-page interim order.

The top court, which constituted a four-member committee to listen to the grievances of farmers as well as the views of government and make recommendations, passed the order on a batch of pleas including those challenging the validity of these farm laws, those supporting these legislations and those raising the issue of farmers protesting at Delhi borders.

During the hearing conducted through video-conferencing, the bench said it is concerned about protecting the lives and property of citizens and it is trying to solve the problem.

When one of the lawyers alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not said anything on the issue, the bench said, “We are not going to ask the Prime Minister to do something. The Prime Minister is not a party before us”.

One of the lawyers said that no effort should be made by the authorities to dismantle the protest and though the agitating farmers’ do not want to prevent movement of citizens, they should be given a visible place like Ramleela Maidan or Boat Club to continue with the protest.

“Has any farmer organisation applied to the Commissioner of Delhi Police for permission to hold protest at Ramleela Maidan or Boat Club?,” the bench asked.

When the lawyer said that farmers are not allowed entry in Delhi, the bench said, “Don’t say all this. You don’t need to come to Delhi for this. You can send it also”.

The top court observed that issue of law and order will be taken care of by the police as the court do not have the wherewithal to deal with it.

The apex court stayed the implementation of the three laws -- the Farmers' (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act – until further orders and posted the matter for further hearing after eight weeks. PTI ABA MNL SJK ABA RKS RKS