Home > News > ‘During talks with farm unions, Centre suggested speedy hearing by SC on constitutionality of farm laws’ | India News

‘During talks with farm unions, Centre suggested speedy hearing by SC on constitutionality of farm laws’ | India News

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NEW DELHI: The scope of the government’s offer to refer dispute over the three farm laws is narrower than intially assumed. Sources said the suggestion is restricted to a scrutiny of the contention that enactments infringe on the rights of states, which can be settled expeditiously by requesting the Supreme Court to hold day-to-day hearings to settle the constitutional validity of the trio of laws.
Sources said agriculture minister Narendra Tomar, during discussions with farm unions on Friday, made the point that the Centre’s decision to frame the laws was based on its view that this was well within its ambit. “But if the court decides in your favour, there will be no need for an agitation,” Tomar told the unions. The sources said the suggestion was much more specific than had been assumed on Friday and limited to the court taking up the constitutionality of the three farm laws that look to expand private trade, encourage contract-farming and remove stock limits.
It is understood that Tomar had referred to differing perceptions on the constitutional validity of the laws rather than suggesting the SC could resolve all issues related to the protests. The minister reflected the thinking in the government that the SC could provide an opening that will allow negotiations to move towards a conclusion.
The farm unions have said they are not enthused about approaching the SC, saying the court should not dwell on a “policy matter”. Yet, during the talks and in their statements, the unions have said the laws fall outside the domain of the Centre.
In its previous hearing, the SC agreed to consider a petition challenging the constitutional amendment that inserted Entry 33 in the Concurrent List, which enabled the Centre to enact the three farm laws. The petitioner argued that agriculture is a state subject and hence part of List-II. If agriculture was primarily an entry in the State List under the Seventh Schedule, Parliament could not have put agriculture-related issues like production of foodstuff in Entry 33 of List-III (Concurrent List), TOI reported on Friday.
The Centre, however, has held that the amendment of 1954 has not been challenged by any state and could not have existed for so long without a wide consensus. The Centre’s suggestion is that it could along with the unions approach the SC to seek speedy disposal of the matter.
Sources said the government hopes that its fairly blunt statement to the unions on Friday that there will be no repeal of the laws, something Tomar and railway and consumer affairs minister Piyush Goyal had avoided saying in as many words in order to create some negotiating space, will see the farm leaders consider discussions on a compromise formula.

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