The Supreme Court will on Tuesday pass its order on the three farm laws enacted in September that have triggered protests at the Delhi's borders a day after it said it was "extremely disappointed" with the way the Centre has handled the controversy surrounding the legislation.
A Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde-led bench on Monday asked the government if it was willing to pause the implementation of the laws. The bench said otherwise the court will do it, and also constitute a panel to examine the farmers' grievances with the legislation.
"Why there should be an insistence to implement a law at any cost?" the bench asked attorney general KK Venugopal. It asked him to return with a reply if the government was willing to stay the operation of the laws of its own as the court would otherwise be inclined to do so through a judicial order.
The bench sought to confirm the consent of the farmers' unions in joining the deliberations before the court-appointed panel. It asked their lawyer, Dushyant Dave, to consult the farmers and inform it on Tuesday when the court will pass its order.
The government filed a counter-affidavit on Monday blaming "vested interests" for instigating the farmers' protests. It maintained that it was not going to repeal the laws. The government called the demand for it as "neither justifiable nor acceptable".
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha of major farm unions leading the protest said it was grateful to the court for suggesting that the laws be put on hold. But it refused to be a part of a panel to scrutinise the laws because it is "unanimous in the decision that laws must be repealed forthwith".
The protesting farmers say the laws to liberalise the farm economy will favour big corporations and erode the system of state-set minimum prices for their produce.