Supreme Court to hear pleas against farm laws on January 11

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it would hear on January 11 a batch of pleas challenging the new farm laws as also the ones raising issues related to the ongoing farmers’ protest at Delhi borders.

A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde, which observed that there is no improvement on the ground regarding farmers’ protests, was informed by the Centre that “healthy discussions” are going on between the government and farmers over these issues.

Attorney General KK Venugopal said there is a good chance that parties may come to a conclusion in the near future and filing of response by the Centre on the pleas challenging the new farm laws might foreclose the negotiations between the farmers and government.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, while informing the bench that talks are going on between the government and farmers in a “healthy atmosphere”, said that these matters should not be listed for hearing on January 8.

“We understand the situation and encourage the consultation. We can adjourn the matters on Monday (January 11) if you submit the same due to the ongoing consultation process,” the bench said.

The top court was hearing a plea filed by advocate ML Sharma challenging the farm laws.

The bench issued notice to the Centre seeking its response on Sharma’s plea which has alleged that the Central government has no locus under the Constitution to frame these laws.

During the hearing, conducted through video conference, the bench said at the outset, “These are farm matters. Where are the other matters? When they are listed? We are going to hear all the matters together.”

The bench asked Mehta to find out the status of other matters and as to when they are listed. Mehta said that no specific date was given earlier for hearing on these pleas.

“We are keeping this plea (filed by Sharma) for hearing on Friday and we allow the amended petition to be taken on record in the meanwhile,” the bench said.

“ML Sharma always files startling petitions and he says that the Centre has no power to make laws,” the bench observed, adding, “Mr Sharma says that you (government) are colluding and making laws.”

The top court said it would take up the plea along with other pending matters “because we think that the condition has not improved already”.

After Mehta said that talks are going on in “healthy atmosphere”, the bench said it would take up these matters on January 11.

The apex court had earlier issued notice and sought the Centre’s response on a batch of pleas against the three contentious farm laws – Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020

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