All members of SC-appointed panel favour farm laws, how can farmers expect justice from them: Cong

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New Delhi, Jan 12 (PTI) The Congress on Tuesday claimed that all four members of the committee, appointed by the Supreme Court to resolve the deadlock over farmers' agitation against three farm laws, were in favour of the legislations, and asked how the protesters could expect justice from them.

The party's chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala sought to know whether any government lawyer disclosed the credentials of the committee members before the court.

He also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should talk to the farmers on January 15, when the next round of discussion between the agitators and the government is slated.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi raised questions over the formation of the committee. 'Can justice be expected from people who have given their written support to the anti-agriculture laws. This struggle will continue till anti-farmer-worker laws are repealed. Jai Jawaan Jai Kisaan,' he tweeted.

Bhupinder Singh Mann, President of Bhartiya Kisan Union; Anil Ghanwat, President of Shetkari Sangthana, Maharashtra; Pramod Kumar Joshi, director for South Asia, International Food Policy Research Institute, and agriculture economist Ashok Gulati have been named in the panel announced by the apex court.

'We do not know who has given these names to the Chief Justice of India. Why was their background and stand not checked. All these four persons are in favour of these laws and are standing with Prime Minister Modi. How can we expect justice from such a committee,' Surjewala told reporters at a press conference.

He also alleged that one of the committee members was also a petitioner and asked how can the petitioner be made a member of the Supreme Court-appointed committee.

'All these four persons are in favour of the farm laws. There is a need for introspection on this committee. The farmers will not get justice from this committee as its members are in favour of the farm laws and are standing with the PM,' Surjewala alleged.

'All of them have taken a public stance and have sided with the Modi government and they stand for the implementation of these three black laws,' he said.

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said the concern expressed by the Supreme Court over the farmers' protests is 'justified and welcome in the situation created by a stubborn government'.

'The decision to form a committee to help find a solution is well-intentioned. However, the composition of the four member committee is puzzling and sends contradictory signals,' he said on Twitter.

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh also tweeted, 'When you want a consensus you get a group with different viewpoints together. The G-4 on farm laws is a quartet of evangelists. Where is the other viewpoint? In sports, there is a name for this.' The 'well-meaning' intervention by the Suprem Court to resolve the crisis over farmers agitation is not likely to end the stalemate, Congress leader and former Law Minister Ashwani Kumar said.

'Committee comprising members who have generally supported the laws is only provocative,' he said, adding that the Court's order could result in prolonging the agitation given the public reaction of the farmers' representatives.

Surjewala said for the last 49 days, India's 'annadatas' (food providers) across the country are agitating and lakhs of them are protesting at Delhi's borders.

'They have been crying for their lives and livelihood, but the arrogant Modi government is not listening to their grievances,' he claimed.

Surjewala said the Supreme Court took note of the farmers' misery and agony and their cry for lives and livelihood that is being 'annihilated by the Modi government which is subservient to a handful of crony capitalist friends'.

'The Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde showed the mirror of truth to this government and expressed concern over the way the talks have not fructified, for which the Congress thanks the Supreme Court for hearing the anguish of farmers.' 'The Congress has consistently been saying that these farm laws must be repealed as they subvert the constitutional rights of states and are oriented towards dismantling the three pillars of food security -- minimum support price, public distribution system and public procurement -- which have benefited the consumers,' he said.

The Supreme Court constituted the committee to resolve the impasse and each citizen of this country was very hopeful after this intervention, Surjewala said.

The apex court on Tuesday stayed the implementation of controversial new farm laws till further orders and constituted a four-member committee to resolve the impasse over them between the Centre and farmers' unions protesting at Delhi borders.

In its interim order, the top court directed that the committee shall held its first sitting within 10 days from Tuesday.

The bench said this committee is 'constituted for the purpose of listening to the grievances of the farmers relating to the farm laws and the views of the government and to make recommendations'. PTI SKC NSD NSD