Supreme Court on Monday heard a batch of pleas challenging the new farm laws and said it was "extremely disappointed" with the way the farmers' protest and the situation have been handled. During the hearing, the Chief Justice of India (CJI) asked the government if the farm laws can be suspended.
"What is going on? States are rebelling against your laws", a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde asked the Centre.
"We don't want to make any stray observations on your negotiations but we are extremely disappointed with the process," said the bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.
"We don't know what negotiations are going on. Can the farm laws be put on hold for some time?" CJI further asked.
The chief justice pulled up the government for making a law without adequate consultation when he said, "We are sorry to say that you, as the Union of India, are not able to solve the problem. You have made a law without enough consultation resulting in a strike. So you have to resolve the strike".
In the course of the hearing, the Attorney General submitted that the farm laws evolved from the proposals for farming sector reforms by various expert panels, some of them appointed during the term of the previous government, to which the CJI replied : "It will not help you to say that this was started by last government. We are discussing constitutionality. You are saying negotiations are going on. But what negotiations?"
SC also reiterated the need for a committee on farm laws and said that it will stop their implementation if the panel advises to do so. The top court also criticised the central government saying "its intention was to see negotiated solution but did not see any response from the Centre on willingness to put farm laws on hold".
The apex court said it is not talking about the repeal of these farm laws at the moment. During the course of the hearing Chief Justice SA Bobde also said, "Staying the implementation of laws and staying the law are different. We can always stay executive action under a law. Who will be responsible if any bloodshed happens."
"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".
On the bench's suggestion for a stay, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who opposed it, has sought a day's time to suggest names for the Committee. Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for a farmers group, suggested the name of former CJI RM Lodha as a member of the Committee.