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‘Will not repeal agricultural laws, let SC decide’: Government toughens its position | India News


NEW DELHI / BATHINDA: In an abrupt change of tack, the Center on Friday bluntly told unions opposing the new farm laws that the laws could not be repealed and that since talks were stalled, it would be better leave it to the Supreme Court. who takes care of the matter, to resolve the protracted dispute.
the government moving the ball to the lap of the apex court, a day after asking the court not to insist on a formal response on the farm laws as the talks were “progressing well”, came as a surprise to the farm union representatives who attended the eighth round of discussions on Friday.

'Will not repeal agricultural laws, let SC decide': Government toughens its position | India News

The government side argued that it was ready with amendments and concessions, but would not repeal the laws, implying that unions could consider whether they could reach a better deal with the Center or the SC.
In its previous hearings, the court had suggested the creation of a committee that included not only the agitator unions coming mainly from Punjab, Haryana and western UP, but from other parts of the country besides the Center. In such a committee, the 40 unions that attend the talks with the Center are unlikely to be accommodated, while others may be brought in. The court will hear the case on Monday and the Center and the unions decided to meet again on January 15. .
“It is a sad day for democracy that an elected government in the middle of the talks turns to the Supreme Court and says we will resolve this in court,” said Kavitha Kuruganti of Mahila Kisan Adhikar Manch after attending the talks.
The move is truly unusual and appears to be intended to present unions with the option of reaching a negotiated settlement without repealing the laws or risking the legal process before the court.
The peasant groups said they would continue their protest and intensify it and would not withdraw even if the SC asked them to put an end to the uproar. The unions rejected the Center’s suggestion that the farmers form a small committee to run the meetings, though they later said the proposal would be discussed on January 10. BKU Ekta Ugrahan President Joginder Singh Ugrahan told TOI: “We had no hopes of this meeting and it progressed along the expected lines. The government is not at all willing to repeal the laws, but we are not prepared for anything less. ”
Krantikari Kisan Union Chairman Darshan Pal said: “The government wants us to present our case to the Supreme Court, but we are not going to represent our case in court. Even if the Supreme Court asks us to lift the protest, we will not lift it and will continue to protest peacefully. ”
Agricultural leaders did not appear willing to take the supreme court route to the resolution, saying it was a matter of “policy dominance and not just a legal or technical matter.”
With talks stalled after the Center agreed to retain the new Electricity Law and remove penalties for stubble burning, the government was blunt in ruling out repeal of the laws and said objections to the constitutionality of the laws and related issues they could be left to the CS to decide.
The farmers’ unions had no choice but to agree to the talks on January 15, as they did not want to send the wrong message to the CS where the government on January 11 will present what it has offered to the leaders.
Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said: “The discussion on the three laws was resumed, but no decision could be made. The government urged the farmers’ unions that if they give an option other than repeal, we consider it. But no option could be presented. So, it was decided to hold the next meeting on January 15 ”.
“Consultations in view of alternatives to issues related to the agricultural reform laws will be held before the next round of meetings,” the ministry’s statement in Hindi said. However, this point was missing in his English translation.
Although the ministry was silent on details, the trail was dropped during the actual talks when Tomar, who led the government side, suggested forming an “informal” group of four or five farmer leaders to carry out consultations before the next one. meeting.
However, the farmers’ unions disagreed even though some in Punjab, including Balbir Singh Rajewal and Kulwant Singh Sandhu, wanted to give Tomar’s suggestion a chance. But Rakesh Tikait, from Bhartiya Kisan Union, strongly opposed the move, showing slight differences between them for the first time since the talks began.
Sources said Tikait did not want the next round of meetings unless the government promised to repeal the laws. However, the unions finally unanimously agreed to the January 15 meeting as they also want to send a message to the CV that they too would like to resolve the matter through discussion.
During the meeting, the agricultural leaders were silent for a time as a sign of protest. One of them wrote the words, “Ya Marange Ya Jittange (we’ll die or win)”, on a notepad and waved it at the other farm leaders during their lunch break. They also refused lunch to express their anger.
Farm organizations said their next goal is to burn copies of the three laws in Lohri on January 13 or 14 and prepare for a tractor parade on Republic Day.

Times of India