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‘During conversations with the agricultural unions, the Center suggested a quick hearing by the SC on the constitutionality of the agricultural laws’ | India News

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NEW DELHI: The scope of the government’s offer to refer the dispute over the three farm laws is more limited than initially assumed. The sources said the suggestion is limited to scrutinizing the argument that the enactments infringe upon the rights of the states, which can be quickly resolved by asking the Supreme Court to hold daily hearings to resolve the constitutional validity of the trio of laws.
The sources said that agriculture minister Narendra Tomar, during discussions with agricultural unions on Friday, noted that the Center’s decision to frame the laws was based on his view that this was within its purview. “But if the court decides in their favor, there will be no need for agitation,” Tomar told the unions. Sources said the suggestion was much more specific than had been assumed on Friday and was limited to the court upholding the constitutionality of the three farm laws that seek to expand private trade, encourage contract farming, and remove limits from stocks.
It is understood that Tomar had referred to different perceptions about the constitutional validity of the laws instead of suggesting that the CS could solve all the problems related to the protests. The minister reflected the government’s thinking that the SC could provide an opening that allows negotiations to move towards a conclusion.
The agricultural unions have said they are not enthusiastic about approaching the CS, saying the court should not dwell on a “matter of policy.” However, during the talks and in their statements, the unions have said that the laws are outside the Centre’s domain.
At its previous hearing, the CV agreed to consider a petition challenging the constitutional amendment that inserted Entry 33 on the Concurrent List, allowing the Center to enact the three agricultural laws. The petitioner argued that agriculture is a state issue and, therefore, part of List II. If agriculture was primarily an entry on the State List under the Seventh Program, Parliament could not have placed issues related to agriculture such as food production in Entry 33 of List III (Concurrent List), TOI reported on Friday.
However, the Center has held that the 1954 amendment has not been contested by any state and could not have existed for that long without broad consensus. The suggestion of the Center is that it could, together with the unions, approach the CV to seek a quick resolution of the matter.
Sources said the government hopes its rather forceful statement to unions on Friday that there will be no repeal of the laws, something that Tomar and the minister of rail and consumer affairs, Piyush Goyal, had avoided saying with so many words to create a space for negotiation. You will see farm leaders consider discussions of a compromise formula.

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