NEW DELHI-The Supreme Court of India suspended the implementation of the new law on Tuesday, which will reshape the country’s agriculture and trigger large-scale protests outside the capital New Delhi, which has caused a setback to the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Supreme Court said it will suspend the law until an expert committee to be appointed can negotiate with government officials and protest farmers’ attempts to find a solution to the dispute. On the first day of Monday’s hearing, the Chief Justice severely criticized the government’s handling of the law. sHe was “very disappointed” and he worried that the protests might lead to violence.
Chief Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde said at the hearing: “We don’t want anyone to be injured or bleed.”
It is not clear whether the suspension will satisfy the protesting farmers. They insist on abolishing the law completely. They say that doing so will reduce the state protection they have little to offer and put it at the mercy of the company.
On the eve of the verdict, local news reports quoted farmers’ leaders as saying that they might not participate in the committee, seeing them as a government tool to drain protesters.
However, shortly after Tuesday’s verdict, AP Singh, one of the lawyers representing some of the unions involved in the protest, called it a “farmer’s victory”. The union leaders said they will respond after the discussion.
Until now, thousands of farmers have besieged New Delhi, and well-organized protest camps have been established at all major entrances to the capital, stretching for dozens of miles. Despite the severe cold in winter, frequent rains and dozens of deaths in the ranks, they still have a firm foothold.
The Modi government has stated that he hopes to nearly double India’s economic growth by 2024, and he hopes that injecting private investment into the troubled agricultural sector will accelerate growth. The new law hurriedly passed by Congress in September sparked protests from opposition parties that would relax some government regulations to encourage private investors to deal directly with farmers.
Even with these regulations, such as minimum guaranteed prices for certain crops, farmers are still struggling with increased debt, which has forced many people to commit suicide. They worry that the new law will remove the limited protections they enjoy, and they will fight for fair treatment for corporate giants.