Highways blocked: Will SC hearing 
of farmers' leaders help resolve 
the stand-off?

The Supreme Court, hearing petitions against the blockage of roads by the protesting farmers, has sought to constitute a committee of their representatives to resolve the issue. On Wednesday, when the petitioners invoked its decision in the Shaheen Bagh case wherein it had barred all such protest demonstrations in public places other than in designated areas specifically earmarked for the purpose, the apex court faced a quandary. It said government-farmers' talks having broken down, farmers' representatives must be involved to resolve the issue.

The court scheduled the hearing for the following day, that is, Thursday, December 17, since a day later, it is to go on its annual winter break. Whether such a short period will throw up an amicable solution to end the blockage of highways to and from the national capital is doubtful, but the apex court being seized of the matter in itself is a positive development.

As a neutral umpire, its intervention might help in allaying the misgivings of the farmers. Investing the three farm legislations with more meaning and intent than is actually warranted by the written text of the relevant laws is the main source of mischief behind the farmers’ agitation.

As the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court on Wednesday, farmers had adopted a rigid attitude, sitting with their backs to the ministers in the last round of negotiations, insisting the Government answer yes or no on the outright repeal of the farm reforms. This showed an extraneous agenda at work, not farmers' welfare and a willingness to find a mutually acceptable solution. Hopefully, the SC will command due respect from the farmers. We keep our fingers crossed.

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Free Press Journal