When Chief Justice of India, SA Bobde yesterday commented on the government’s mishandling of the consultations with Farmers unions it took everyone by surprise.
Bobde said in strict words “if you don’t stay the farm laws, we will!”
And Lo and Behold SC did put stay on the farm Laws until further orders. Everyone cheered and praised the SC which has been getting a lot of flak recently for giving pro-government judgements.
The SC also set up an expert committee to investigate farmers’ concerns about the contentious farm laws.
But as always the devil is in the detail. The very innocent looking SC’s offer of setting up a committee is not so innocent after all. SC has only put a stay on the implementation of farm laws for the time being not indefinitely.
The members of the select committee are Jitender Singh Maan, President BKU; Dr. Pramod Kumar Joshi, International policy head; agricultural economist Ashok Gulati and Anil Ghanwat from Shetkari Sangathan. All these members have already in different capacities supported the farm laws.
The panel members have been given the task of attempting to find an amicable solution between the Central government and farmers who have been protesting since the end of November.
Also, a look at the profiles of the members of the committee will make it clear.
- Ashok Gulati- Gulati has on several opinion pieces written in favour of the farm laws and have even equated them with the liberalisation of the 90s. He has also alleged that the opposition is misled on new farm laws. He is an agricultural economist who was awarded the Padma Shri in the year 2015. He is an Infosys Chair Professor for Agriculture at the India Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER). From 2011 to 2014, he was the head of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP). The panel recommends minimum support prices of various crops to the government and is attached to the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
- Anil Ghanwat of Shetkari Sangathan- He has appealed to the government to not take back the laws instead make amendments. Shetkari Sangathan has been for long been asking for opening up the of the agriculture sector.
- Dr Pramod Kumar Joshi is a former director of South Asia, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), New Delhi. Joshi has strongly opposed minimum support prices and has advocated contract farming as a ‘win-win situation’ for all stakeholders. He earlier held the positions of the director of the National Academy of Agricultural Research Management, Hyderabad, India, and the director of the National Centre for Agricultural Economics and Policy Research, New Delhi. In his opinion, if the new farm laws are weakened it will stop India from becoming a world power!
- Jitender Singh Mann of Bhartiya Kisan Union has recently met up with Agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar and given his support to the new farm laws.
Why would the SC choose members who are already known for their pro-market and pro farm laws, to begin with?
It’s not so much of a mystery if we go back to what SC has been in the last 2 years. The compromising judgements on Ayodhya Ram mandir land dispute to letting go of the main culprits of the Babri Masjid demolition have already made clear where the SC stands when it comes to Hindutva politics.
The choice of fast track hearings on these issues while the pleas on Kashmir 370 abrogation and CAA go unheard for more than a year has made it absolutely clear where the Supreme court loyalties stand.