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We encourage consultation, says SC after Centre conveys ‘healthy discussions’ going on with farmers

A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde, which observed that there is no improvement on the ground regarding farmers' protests, was told by the Centre that "healthy discussions" are going on between the government and farmers over these issues.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: January 6, 2021 8:37:01 pm
Farmer leaders say getting threatening phone callsFarmers sit at the back of their tractor trolley as they continue to block a highway at the Delhi- Haryana border at the outskirts of New Delhi. (AP Photo/File)

The Supreme Court will on January 11 hear a batch of pleas challenging the new farm laws as well as the issues related to the ongoing farmers’ protest at Delhi borders.

On Wednesday, a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde observed that there is no improvement on the ground regarding farmers’ protests, following which the Centre conveyed to the court that “healthy discussions” are going on between the government and farmers over these issues.

Attorney General K K Venugopal said there is a good chance that parties may come to a conclusion in the near future and filing of response by the Centre on the pleas challenging the new farm laws might foreclose the negotiations between the farmers and government.

While informing the bench that talks are going on between the government and farmers in a “healthy atmosphere”, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that these matters should not be listed for hearing on January 8.

After hearing Venugopal and Mehta, the top court adjourned the matter for Monday. “We understand the situation and encourage consultation. We can adjourn the matters on Monday (January 11) if you submit the same due to the ongoing consultation process,” the bench said.

On Monday, talks between the Centre and farmer unions remained inconclusive over two key demands — repeal of the newly enacted laws and provision of legal guarantee on the minimum support price — with the two sides drawing the hard line on their respective positions.

The talks will resume on January 8 when the two sides sit across the table for what will be the eight round of negotiations ever since the protests that brought farmers from Punjab and Haryana to the gates of Delhi on November 26.

Emerging from the meeting with the unions Monday, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar told reporters, “We wanted a clause-wise discussion on the laws, so that we could proceed on the way forward. The discussion was mainly centred on this. We discussed the issue of MSP briefly, but could not arrive at a decision. Therefore, the government and the unions decided to meet again on January 8 to take the discussions forward.”

“The meeting was cordial but could not find a way forward as they (farmer leaders) were adamant on the demand for repeal of the Acts. But I hope the way the discussions took place today, meaningful deliberations will again take place at the next meeting and, possibly, we will find a solution,” he said.

Farmer union leaders said they made it very clear to the government that the talks will have to be on their demand for repeal of the new laws.

Meanwhile, farmer unions protesting against the new agriculture laws have said they would hold a “tractor march” on the Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressways on January 7, as a “rehearsal” for January 26.

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