The Supreme Court on Wednesday said talks between the Centre and farmer leaders on the controversial agricultural laws have broken no ground and is “bound to fail”.
A Bench led by Chief Justice Sharad A. Bobde, hearing three separate petitions filed by lawyers and law students for and against the blockade by protesting farmers, proposed setting up a committee of farmer leaders from across the country, including the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), which has been at the forefront of the agitation, and representatives of the government.
“The committee can talk and resolve this issue. Secure the names of some farmers’ unions who want to join… It should include BKU and other farmer leaders. They should be drawn from across the country. It affects all and this will soon become a national issue,” Bobde said.
Govt ready, farmers not
Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said the farmers have turned their backs on the government’s efforts to talk. “The government is ready and was ready. But they (the farmers) say ‘either you repeal or not repeal’. They came to talks with placards saying ‘yes or no’. Ministers tried to talk, but they turned their chairs and sat with their back turned to the Ministers… It is my duty to tell this court some other interests have taken over… We want a positive, constructive talk on a clause to clause basis,” Mehta said.
“Farmers perceive that it (laws) is against them… Your negotiations have not worked, it is bound to fail. If you (government) are willing to negotiate, have some farmer leaders before us who want to negotiate…” Bobde responded.
The court expressed keenness to directly engage with the farmers first, saying they were the people on the ground.
In the absence of the farmers, the Bench turned to the government and asked: “Have you blocked the road?”
“The government has not blocked the road,” Mehta replied immediately.
Then who has prevented the farmers from coming…” Bobde asked the law officer.
Advocate Rahul Mehra, appearing for the Delhi government, submitted that the farmers are “suffering largely in the interest of the country”.
The Bench scheduled the case for further hearing on December 17.