- The entire country is watching the unfolding events surrounding the continued agitation undertaken by the farm unions against the three Agri Laws enacted recently. Despite several rounds of deliberations, nothing concrete has emerged as both sides are not prepared to yield ground in arriving at an amicable solution. The insistence of unions to repeal the laws as against the government’s proposal to deliberate the same clause by clause has not found any traction so far. As the matter reached the portals of the Supreme Court for relief/adjudication, the learned Constitutional bench has stayed the laws and set up a four-member expert committee to study and submit an opinion on the same.
PC: Sukhbir Siwach
- Last heard the farm unions have refused to work with the panel terming them as pro-government. Delving further into the situation bogging the union government for the last 50 days culminating in the Supreme Court staying the operationalization of the three farm laws is far from a satisfactory outcome. Note that setting up an expert committee to hold wide-ranging talks with stakeholders duly places the judiciary on a road rarely traversed. Though it is on record that the SC has consistently voiced its unhappiness with the government’s mishandling of the farm agitation at Delhi’s borders, staying the Agri laws might not be welcomed at all.
- Specifically expressing concerns about the physical well-being and mental health of protesters including old/women/children, lack of wide consultations before/while tabling the bills, and warned of possible bloodshed are genuinely worth exploring. None would question the noble intent of the Apex Court on all these aspects, nonetheless, one cannot detract from thoroughly comprehending the mandated constitutional scheme of separation of powers. As we all are aware, the constitution demarcates by resting the responsibility of carving out the policy and maintenance of public order spheres to the executive alone and vesting the authority to interpret laws passed by the legislature with the judiciary.
- Needless to mention, the political and socio-economic issues driving the farm agitation and ensuring peace as also orderliness without disturbing the rights of other citizens solely comes under the ambit of the executive. As regards the judiciary, the justiciable elements in the ongoing imbroglio include interpreting the competence of Parliament concerning agriculture laws as is the case in the instant situation. Norm followed judiciously vis-à-vis suspending laws passed by Parliament requires invoking legal and constitutional principles at the outset. Does it hold good is the question that has no ready answers.
- What the government should have done in the first place by involving all concerned including the farmers as well as experts to elicit differing views would have allowed it to limit the damage. However, the SC setting up an expert committee on the matter appears as a transgression on the executive territory where ideally the judiciary is expected to desist or exercise due diligence before moving ahead. Come to think of it and going by the recent examples, proactiveness showed on the essentially political farm agitation is at odds with the passivity exhibited in determining the constitutionality of love jihad laws, CAA, or even the outdated sedition law.
- With due respect to the widely respected and accepted as the last resort for the common man seeking relief, the Supreme Court could have avoided the risk of stepping into the executive domain prompting other similarly interested/agitating groups also to approach for due considerations. An interesting turn of events awaits us.