The Supreme Court on Thursday acknowledged the right of farmers to non-violent protests and suggested the Centre to put on hold the implementation of three contentious agri laws as it was thinking of setting up an "impartial and independent" panel of agriculture experts and farmer unions to resolve the impasse.
The apex court also observed that farmers’ right to protest should not infringe the fundamental rights of other citizens to move freely and in getting essential food and other supplies as right to protest cannot mean blockade of the entire city.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said it would pass order on constituting a committee only after hearing all the parties including the protesting farmer unions and putting on hold the implementation of new farm laws by the Centre would enable negotiations with farmers.
However, Attorney General K K Venugopal opposed the suggestion and said if the implementation of the farm laws are put on hold then farmers would not come forward for negotiations.
The top court said it was not asking the Centre to stay the farm laws but only suggesting that its implementation be put on hold for the time being to enable the farmers to talk with the government.
“We are worried with the plight of farmers. We are also Indian but we are worried with the way things are going on,” the bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, said and added “they (protesting farmers) are not a mob”.
The top court said it will pass order for serving of notices to the protesting farmer unions and give them the liberty to approach the vacation bench during the winter break.