The Kisan Mahapanchayat, a Rajasthan-based farmer's union has filed a plea in the Supreme Court seeking a replacement of the members of the committee formed for the farm laws claiming they hold biased and preconceived notions about agriculture and farmers.
The top court on January 12 had suspended the implementation of the three contentious farm laws until further orders while constituting a four-member committee to look into the farmers' grievances and help mediate with the government.
The four persons hold quite different and pedantic views towards the farming and agriculture…, the farmer's union said in its plea. The committee members "view the same as another raw material producing factory to support the larger food processing industries," it added.
"That when the persons nominated for being members of the committee are sitting with well-known preconceived and highly biased notions about the subject matter in hand, any different results is not expected, which disheartens the members and raises genuine apprehensions about the outcome of the meeting," the plea read. The petition has sought the replacement of all the members with people of "great eminence and knowledge, who hold independent thoughts and views about the farm laws and not in any way connected [with] or supporting the Government which is one of the party for mediation…".
In the alternative, if the committee members cannot be replaced, then the farmer's union has sought to increase the number of members to include equal number of people who hold views and thoughts against the farm laws so as to to create a balance. The plea also asks for the appointment of a retired Chief Justice of India or a former top court judge as an 'umpire'.
It is pertinent to point out that Kisan Mahapanchayat's plea was filed on January 13, a day after the top court's order and one day before former Rajya Sabha MP Bhupinder Singh Mann recused himself.
The committee also includes Dr Pramod Kumar Joshi, director for South Asia, International Food Policy Research Institute; Ashok Gulati, agricultural economist and Anil Ghanvat, President of the Shetkari Sanghatna, Maharashtra.
Committee members staunchly support farm acts: Plea in SC
"The top court has not been properly apprised of and disclosed about the views and unequivocal stand declared publicly with respect to the three farm laws by each of the four persons, who were to hear about grievances and issues with respect to the very same farm laws, who the said persons have pledged allegiance too," the plea filed by the union president Rampal Jat read.
"The applicant was shocked to learn that all the four members had been staunchly and ardently advocating the implementation of the farm laws in their public discourse openly," it added.
It is respectfully submitted that after the January 12 order, almost all the newspapers, national as well as local, published articles relating to the unbiases of the persons nominated for being members of the committee to hold mediation between the protesting farmers and the government. The petition has submitted articles, and columns featuring the four members' opinions to buttress its point.
Jat categorically submits that the farmer's union are willing to appear before the committee and air grievances, which they are still willing, provided the committee constituted by the court has independent and unbiased views and approach.