New Delhi: Following prime minister Narendra Modi's annoucement during his address to the nation on Guru Purab Festival - the birthday of Guru Nanak - that the government has decided to repeal the three controversial farm laws, the withdrawal has to be given effect through a constitutionally valid procedure.
Modi has also said that in the upcoming parliament session, the government will complete the process for their repeal.
And for those steps, in terms of procedure, parliament will have to go through the same process as done for bringing a new law, i.e. suitable 'amendments' will have to be tabled reflecting the nullification of the laws, followed by debate and then a voting. However, as for voting, given the fact that the Opposition has also been clamouring for their withdrawal, these legislative steps are certain to have smooth sailing.
The winter session of parliament is slated to start on November 29.
Probably since in theory the laws will be in force until they are so repealed, Rakesh Tikait, the leader of the farmer bodies' collective that is spearheading the protest, said he would stop only once the laws are repealed in the parliament session. And having sustained the protest for a year, the parliament session is only a matter of days from now.
The Supreme Court, when it heard several petitions against the laws - and some against the road blocks of the protest site - had asked the protesters to move to a place without blocking the road. But during such hearing, the highest court had, as an interim measure, also frozen the implementation of the law, though the laws as such were not declared void.
However, experts are not unanimous on whether a parliament-passed repeal of law is the only means of cancelling a legislation. Since the laws came into force through a notification in the Gazette, a minority opinion deems another notification suspending or cancelling its implementation as sufficient to serve the purpose. But a notification can, as many opine, at best suspend or delay the implementation of a duly passed law, and not revoke it.
The existing Supreme Court stay of enforcement will not suffice to remove it from the statute books either, as the court has only stayed it, not declared it void. In any case, since Parliament, which is the paramount body in lawmaking has passed a law, it is treated as the authority competent to repeal any law too. And hence the general understanding that a full parliamentary procedure, similar to law-making, is required to revoke already notified laws.