SC-appointed farm laws panel likely to meet 19 January

Chennai: The Supreme Court-appointed panel on farm laws is likely to hold its first meeting on 19 January at Pusa campus, one of its members Anil Ghanwat said on Thursday and asserted the committee will have no ‘ego or prestige issue’ if it has to go to farmers’ protest sites to talk to them.

This announcement comes even as yet another round of talks between the government and the farmers is scheduled for today.

The panel members were scheduled to have a virtual interaction earlier in the day to discuss its future course of action, but it could not take place after ex-MP and farmer leader Bhupinder Singh Mann recused himself from the committee.

The existing members can hold their virtual interaction on Friday now, Ghanwat said, while asserting that he will not leave the committee unless asked by the top court and he does not expect any other member to recuse.

On 11 January, the top court had appointed a four-member committee to look into the new farm laws against which the farmers, especially from Punjab, Haryana and parts of Uttar Pradesh, are protesting at Delhi borders for over 40 days.

The court had directed the committee to hold its first sitting within 10 days and submit a report in two months.

“The first sitting will have to be held before 20 January. It will be held with existing members. Most probably, the meeting will be on 19 January in Pusa campus,” Ghanwat said.

Asked if the committee will continue to function with existing members, he said, “The existing three-member committee will function unless the Supreme Court gives a direction to add one more member”.

On some protesting farmer unions alleging that the committee members were all supporters of farm laws, Ghanwat said, “I don’t know on what parameters the Supreme court has chosen us. It must have seen our track record. I respect their decision”.

He also thanked the protesting farmers that it was due to their agitation that agriculture is being discussed at such a level for the first time, else farmers were always taken for granted.

“Because of them, there is an opportunity to frame a good law. I feel blessed that I have got an opportunity to work,” he added.

 

NT Bureau