'SC’s Farm Laws Order a Moral Defeat For BJP, But Committee Formed is a Joke': Sukhbir Singh Badal

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Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Tuesday called the Supreme Court’s order of staying the implementation of three new farm laws till further notice a "resounding moral defeat" for the BJP-led government at the Centre.

Badal made the statement in a tweet, hours after the top court expressed concern over "lives and property of people affected" and slammed the Centre for not being able to resolve an agitation that has rumbled on for several weeks.

However, he also raised concerned over the SC’s setting up of a committee of agricultural experts -- all of who have supported the farm laws publicly -- to resolve the logjam between the government and farmers.

The SAD held its core committee meeting, led by Badal in the wake of the apex court order.

On Tuesday, The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the implementation of the three controversial farm laws which are at the centre of the farmers’ agitation and said a four-member committee would be formed to take over negotiations to end the crisis. The committee has been directed to submit its recommendations within two months from first sitting.

Pramod Joshi, Ashok Gulati, Anil Ghanwat and Bhupinder Singh Mann were among those named to the panel.

The Supreme Court earlier said it was trying to solve the problem in the best way and had the power to suspend the laws for the moment.

"These are matters of life and death. We are concerned with laws. We are concerned with lives and property of people affected by the agitation. We are trying to solve the problem in the best way. One of the powers we have is to suspend the legislation," the Chief Justice said.

"We want to solve the problem and that's why we are making the committee. Give the names to us, we will decide," he added.

The top court also issued notice to farmers' unions on a Delhi Police plea to stop a tractor rally during the January 26 Republic Day parade.

During the hearing, the attorney general alleged the presence of Khalistani support for the farmers protests and presented the court with news clippings. The CJI said, “If there is an infiltration by a banned organization, and somebody is making an allegation here on record, you have to confirm it. You file an affidavit by tomorrow.”

The solicitor general said in court that the farmers were being misled. “Farmers are being misled. Misgivings are being spread about the law. The law protects the farmer adequately,” he said.

On Monday, the Supreme Court pulled up the Centre for its handling of the farmers’ protest and indicated that it may go to the extent of staying the implementation of the contentious farm laws.

"We are extremely disappointed with the negotiation process," the court said, adding, “We don't want to make any stray observations on your negotiations but we are extremely disappointed with the process.”

The apex court was hearing a clutch of pleas challenging the new farm laws as well as the ones raising issues related to the ongoing agitation at Delhi borders.

“This is a very delicate situation”, the bench said, adding, “There is not a single petition before us which says that these farm laws are beneficial. We are not experts on economy; you tell us whether government is going to put on hold farm laws or we will do this, the bench said. We are sorry to say that Centre has not been able to solve the problem and the farmers’ agitation.”