Skip to main content

Pro-corporate farm lobby to defuse crisis through Supreme Court-appointed panel?

Justice SA Bobde
Vidya Bhushan Rawat*
The Supreme Court of has been unusually aggressive with the government on the three farm bills, it would seem. Indeed, first SA Bobde, Chief Justice of India, talked tough and said that he is going to form an expert committee and will stay the implementation of the bills. Then, the court actually announced a four member panel to speak to the farmers and the government.
The members of the committee are Bhupinder Singh Mann of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Maan), Anil Ghanwat of the Shetkari Sanghthana, agricultural economist Ashok Gulati and Dr Pramod Joshi of the International Food Policy Research Institute ( IFPRI). If you scan though newspapers of the last two months, you will find most of these gentlemen have been very vocal about the new farm bills. They have wanted to get these implemented.
Bhupinder Singh Maan is the president of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Maan), which supported the government openly. The only difference was that he wanted the government to ensure Minimum Support Price (MSP). Ashok Gulati is a well known columnist and is visible in the media most of the time vociferously supporting the bills.
As for the rhe Shetkari Sagnthan has also support of farm reforms, and one has to look at the speeches of Anil Gahlawat to find out what he feels about the three farm bills. He believes, they are beneficial to farmers because they give them an 'opportunity' to sell their products to a variety of markets and not merely to Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) mandis, which may be demolished after the bills are made operational.
In fact, there is a farm lobby which feels that it can deal with corporate houses and get a better deal. This group does not take into account the fact that corportisation of the agricultural sector is an assault on not merely farmers but on India's Dalit Bahujan Adivasi population, whom it hurts the most. 
Indeed, how do you expect small and marginal farmers to bargain with Ambanis and Adanis? They can’t even bargain with local dealers. The result is, farmers are forced to commit suicide after they are pushed to sell their produce at a much lower price.
There is a need to understand that the Supreme Court order is an attempt to defuse the crisis without changing anything. If the courts were really concerned about the farmers, they would have sought farmers’ representatives in the committee and called those economists and agriculturalists who have been working closely with farmers and not those who are corporate friendly.
Nor is the apex court stay on 'implementation' of the three farm bills an answer. It is trying to save the political executive by playing the role of the executive. It is not the job of the court to make laws or deal with the law and order situation. The court has to see the legality of an issue.
It is well known that farmers’ groups have not been keen to go to the court in order to seek a legal solution, as they know that the government wants to use the court to save its skin without retracting on the bills. We have seen many times in recent years when judges make big statements but the final judgement disappoints.
Anil Ghanwat, Bhupinder Singh Mann, Ashok Gulati, Pramod Joshi
The Supreme Court appeared to suggest it was upset with the government response. But is it job of the court to mediate for the government? One wonders why didn’t the court take the matters related to Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) or anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)-National Register of Citizens (NRC) protests. The court has not been able to send a message to the government to stop harassment of activists participating in protests. 
Most of the gentlemen in the Supreme Court-appointed committee have been very vocal about implementation of the farm bills
It may appear that the court is trying to find a way for a 'negotiated' settlement, but for that to happen, the committee that it has appointed should have people known to have sympathies towards farmers and not towards the corporates. How can farmers have faith in such a committee when its members and their views are in public domain and are well known?
Various groups have trying to divide the farmers though the court and get a favorable judgement. The Supreme Court's intervention will not build confidence of the farmers. It is the political executive that has to take the call. The ruling party has failed in handling the issue and does not want to budge an inch because the bills are aimed at strengthening the hands of the corporates and not the farmers.
The issue of farm bills has to be responded to politically and not through courts. For everything that the political executive wants to get implemented, it takes the court route as that is the safest way for them to get their things 'legitimised'. Without doubt, we missing such outstanding judges like Justices HR Khanna and VR Krishna Iyer, who had the courage and conviction to stand with the people and their rights when powerful leaders tried to suppress them 'legally'.
Even after 60 deaths, the government continues to play multiple games to foil farmers’ unity. One side invites them for negotiations, while ministers threaten them that their 'details' are with them and the notorious IT cell has been targeting the farm protesters with tags like Khalistani, urban Naxals, Maoists, anti-nationals etc.
Many BJP leaders have said that farmers are eating pizzas, kaju-badam and biryani as if eating all this is anti-national. But this is the popular narrative they build in order to polarise. The word Biryani is used in order to suggest that it a dish which Muslims alone eat. It reveals how the Sangh mindset treats the protesters.
BJP has already said that it would embark on big rallies to 'educate' people about the bills. The Prime Minister spoke about it with people online through his Mann Ki Baat broadcast. Farmers’ unity was extraordinary and yet the government wanted to foil it. Now, the Supreme Court has taken the matter in its hand. It says the 'implementation’ is stayed. We don’t know what is the mandate of the committee and what is the time schedule given to it, but we don’t expect much from it.
The sad part is that the political executive of the country has shamelessly refused to admit that they made the bills without consulting farmers. Let us watch what the court does and how the committee responds to the entire issue even as the government failure is there for all to see. It is time one realises that the government needs to protect farmers and not tycoons who are looking to grab their land and resources.
---
*Human rights defender

Comments

TRENDING

Ganga world's second most polluted river, Modi's Varanasi tops microplastics pollution

By Rajiv Shah  Will the new report by well-known elite NGO Toxics Link create a ripple in the powerful corridors of Delhi? Titled “Quantitative analysis of microplastics along River Ganga”, forwarded to Counterview, doesn’t just say that Ganga is the second most polluted river in the world, next only to Yangtze (China). It goes ahead to do a comparison of microplastics pollution in three cities shows Varanasi – the Lok Sabha constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi – is more polluted compared to Kanpur and Haridwar.

Madhya Pradesh tops India's 145 instances of 'anti-Christian atrocities' this year

Counterview Desk  A report prepared by the Religious Liberty Commission of the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI), founded in 1951 as the national alliance of evangelical Christians of the Protestant denomination, in its just-released report, “Hate and Targeted Violence against Christians in India: Half Yearly Report 2021”, has said that an analysis of 145 cases of violence it has documented against Christians, mainly by non-state actors, “stems from an environment of targeted hate.”

How real is Mamata challenge to Modi? Preparing for 2024 'khela hobey' moment

By Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury*  Third time elected West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee is on a whirlwind tour of Delhi, meeting everyone who matters within and beyond the government, the Prime Minister, the President, some Cabinet ministers, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, several other opposition leaders, et al.

Demolition drive: Why aren't high-end hotels, farmhouses treated same way as Khorigaon?

By Our Representative A public hearing, sponsored by the civil rights group National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) to hear the affected citizens of Khorigaon, off Faridabad, Delhi NCR, has seen local people complaining how their houses are being demolished even as the entire area was converted into a prison through heavy police deployment.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

How BSF, police, court turned Bangladeshi woman slave victim into accused in crime

Counterview Desk  Civil rights leader Kirity Roy has strongly objected to the manner in which the Border Security Force (BSF) , the police and the judiciary in West Bengal have treated a 35 years old Bangladeshi woman victim of human trafficking, who was subjected to sexual exploitation for 15 long years, has been declared guilty of violating the Foreigners Act, violating all human rights norms.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Khorigaon demolition: People being 'brutally' evicted, cops 'restricting' food, water

By Ishita Chatterjee, Neelesh Kumar, Manju Menon, Vimal Bhai* On July 23, the Faridabad Municipal Corporation told the Supreme Court that they have cleared 74 acres out of 150 acres. Despite the affidavit of the Municipal Corporation, the court, on the complaint of various litigants, that the arrangements for living, food etc. have not been made for the people. 

UP arrest of 'terrorists': Diverting attention from Covid goof-up, Ram temple land scam?

By Advocate Mohammad Shoaib, Sandeep Pandey* That corruption is rampant in police department is a common experience. However, there is another form of corruption which devastates lives of individuals and their families. It has now emerged as a common phenomenon that police more often than not register false cases because of which individuals have to spend number of years in jail.

Covid impact on menstrual cycles? Young girls 'relapsing' back to unhygienic old-cloth rags

By Dr Sudeshna Roy*  Covid-19 pandemic has gripped the world in health and economic shock. Combating this public health crisis has diverted development resources earmarked for adolescents and the youth. India; having world’s second largest population; 1.38 crores as per UN mid-year 2020 estimation, also shelters the largest adolescents and young adult population, which at 243 million constitute 20% of the world’s 1.2 billion adolescent population.