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Tuesday Jan 12 2021
By
Reuters

India's Supreme Court orders stay on new farm laws that angered farmers

By
Reuters
Farmers' protest rattles the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Photo: Reuters/File
  • For more than a month, tens of thousands of farmers have camped on the outskirts of New Delhi against the laws.
  • Chief Justice Sharad Bobde told a hearing the Supreme Court would establish a panel to hear the farmers’ grievances.
  • India says the laws aim to modernise an antiquated farming system, bedevilled by wastage and bottlenecks in the supply chain.


In a major development, India’s Supreme Court has ordered an indefinite stay on Tuesday over the implementation of new agricultural laws that ignited anger among farmers leading to protests country-wide, saying it would set up a panel to hear their objections.

For more than a month, tens of thousands of farmers have camped on the outskirts of New Delhi, the capital, to protest against reform measures that they say benefit large private buyers and harm growers.

Read more: Explainer: Why are the farmers protesting in India?

Chief Justice Sharad Bobde told a hearing the Supreme Court would establish a panel to hear the farmers’ grievances.

“We have the power to make a committee and the committee can give us the report,” he said, ordering the stay for an undisclosed period on the laws passed in September.

“We will protect farmers.” There were no immediate further details.

India says the laws aim to modernise an antiquated farming system, bedevilled by wastage and bottlenecks in the supply chain.

Read more: Jawad Ahmad's ode to protesting farmers garners praise beyond borders in India

But farm leaders demand repeal of the laws, which they say are an attempt to erode a longstanding mechanism that ensures farmers a minimum support price for their crops.

The government has said there was no question of such a rollback, and eight rounds of talks have failed to find common ground. The two sides are set to meet next on Friday.