Farmers ride tractors during their protest march in Bathinda, Punjab.
Farmers ride tractors during their protest march in Bathinda, Punjab.
—PTI

New Delhi

The Congress on Wednesday blasted the central government for misleading the Supreme Court in its affida­vit on Monday that due consultations were made before bringing the three farm laws. Party spokesman and senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi told an online press conference that this was an attempt to “prevaricate, distort, misrepresent and mislead” the court and the nation.

The government in its affidavit said it is being filed “for the purpose of dispelling the erroneous notion that the protesters have peddled that the Central government and Parliament never had any consultative process or examination of issues by any Committee before passing of the laws in question".

As examples of pre-legislative consultations, the government quotes Guru Committee set up in 2000 as pre-consultation and it also circulated Draft Model Acts in 2003 and 2017 to the state govts among other things. The govt claimed that the “legislations are not hurriedly made but are a result of 2 decades of deliberations”.

Singhvi said the affidavit exposes the government that not even perfunctory consultations were done. "Can you call it an elaborate consultative process? For a law that you bring in 2020, you refer to the model Acts of 2003 and 2017," he said, stressing that it is an open admission that no consultation was held in 2019 or 2020 before piloting the related Ordinances in June last year and the Bills in Parliament in September.

These laws, he said, were rammed down the throat of Parliament. “The government has attempted to fool all the people of India all the time by practising falsehoods on stilts. Unfortunately, they have not even spared the hon’ble Supreme Court.”

Rahul flays govt stand on

Jan 26 tractor rally: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday slammed the Modi government for its stand on the tractor rally proposed by the protesting farmers on January 26. "The Modi government is not embarrassed when 60 farmers are martyred but is ashamed about the tractor rally," the Congress leader said.

Around 60 farmers have died due to accidents, suicide, or other reasons ever since the farmers began their protest on the Delhi borders from Nov 26 2020. A village in Moga, meanwhile, announced it will impose a fine on farmers who won’t agree to sending tractors for the parade, a report in 'The indian Express' revealed. Despite SC’s move, announcements continued from village gurdwaras to reach Delhi in maximum numbers with tractors-trolley.

BCI urges people to respect judiciary: Bar Council of India (BCI) on Wednesday urged farmers to respect the judiciary and suspend the agitation following the SC order, saying it is the last hope for the country.

In an 'extra-ordinary' interim order, the top court on Tuesday stayed the implementation of new farm laws till further orders and constituted a four-member committee to listen to the grievances of protesting farmers and make recommendations to resolve the impasse.

The farmer unions have however made it clear they will not call off the protests until the three laws enacted in September are repealed.

"The prudent citizens of the country should appreciate the order of the Supreme Court in the matter of Farmers' agitation. The step which our Apex Court has taken is a historic step and it is in the interest of the nation.

"The order of Supreme Court firstly aims at saving the lives of agitating farmers, the elderly people, women, children from the harsh cold and weather condition and COVID," BCI's chairperson Manan Kumar Mishra said in a press release.

Meanwhile:

-- AMU students to set up health camp, mini library at farmers' protest site

-- SC’s farm laws order a moral defeat for BJP: SAD president quote

-- Selling badges, stickers at Singhu: Protest gives vendors chance to revive income

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