New Delhi: The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), which carried out more than a year-long agitation demanding the repeal of three contentious farm laws, did not make any submissions before the Supreme Court appointed committee on the issue, one of the members of the panel revealed on Monday.
The SKM called the SC-appointed panel a delaying tactic by the government.
“We had approached all the 40-odd organisations that are part of the SKM, sent messages to them, called them multiple times, but many of them did not even bother to reply. Only some of them conveyed orally that they are not interested in sending inputs,” Anil Ghanwat, one of the members of the SC appointed panel, said.
Ghanwat released the committee report that was submitted to the Supreme Court last year. He claimed the court had not banned its release and also that the two other members — agricultural economist Ashok Gulati and P.K. Joshi — had not opposed it. Gulati and Joshi were not present on the occasion.
Ghanwat said, “Even when things have changed now (i.e., the farm laws have been repealed), we are releasing this today as the report has educational value for the famers and policy makers. It was mainly the farmers from north India — where Minimum Support Price (MSP) plays a significant role — who had protested and now they will realise how they have lost an opportunity to increase their income.”
The SKM — a consortium of 40-odd farmers’ organisations — had carried out more than a year-long agitation demanding the three farm laws.
It was on December 11, 2020 that Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) had approached the Supreme Court against the three farm laws. Hearing the case, in January 2021, the Supreme Court stayed the implementation of the three laws and appointed a committee to make recommendations.
The three contentious laws were: Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020.
Much water had flown down the bridge in between and finally in November 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared to repeal the laws; the Parliament repealed those and it was followed by the Presidential assent on December 1, 2021.
Stating that the Bhartiya Kisan Union that had approached the court was a faction different than that belonging to Rakesh Tikait, a prominent leader of the SKM, its spokesperson said, “We had not approached the court. We had demanded certain things from the government. It is clear that it was a delaying tactic by the government and therefore the SKM did not participate or interact with the court appointed committee.”
“It was a question of political will and the government could have solved it. We did not approach the court because we did not want to waste the court’s time,” he told IANS.