The Supreme Court of India has recently made public comments about the farmers' protests happening in Delhi, stating they "will do their job" if the central government cannot reach a resolution soon.
This may seem like a hopeful intervention on the surface, but upon further consideration, it is nothing more than another ruse concocted by the Modi government to further delay justice for the farmers.
Evidence has shown that the central government is not above using smoke and mirrors to distract from and bury the real issues.
The fact of the matter is that in reality, the Supreme Court (SC) has no jurisdiction over the implementing, redaction, or amendment of these bills. Its' jurisdiction is very limited regarding the actual creation of laws.
In essence, only the parliament has the power to make or change laws, while the SC can only examine laws to determine whether they are constitutional or not.
Considering the Constitutional Merit of the Bills
The Modi government has no doubt created drama and chaos in the House in order to pass the bill under problematic circumstances.
In fact, the bills were introduced when the parliament (Rajya Sabha) was not in full attendance due to COVID, but the Modi government pushed the bills through parliament anyway, stating it was a time sensitive matter that warranted such urgency.
This is disgustingly opportunistic, but unfortunately, not unconstitutional.
Furthermore, the bills were passed using a voice vote in which the Chairman puts the question before the House and invites those who are in favour of the motion to say “Aye'' and those against the motion to say “No”.
Then the Chairman says: “I think the Ayes or the Nos, (as the case may be) have it."
There was intense commotion and chaos in the House when the Chairman hurriedly declared the bills passed while the debate was still on going. Although this was an unnecessarily haphazard way to do things, it is still constitutional.
The opposition demanded a division vote, in which bells are rung and all members who are not currently present in the House ,have time to rush there and cast a written vote. Then all the votes are counted, and a conclusion is announced.
However, the Chairman dismissed the opposition's compelling concerns, and deemed the bills to be law. The Chairman can possibly be questioned for not considering the opposition, but the SC has taken no action towards examining the due process or questioning the Chairman.
The chain of events in the passing of the bills is extremely problematic and borderline undemocratic, because according to the parliamentary rules, if any one member of the parliament demands a division vote, it must occur. However, the Chairman preemptively declared the bills to be law and denied the members a division vote.
Instead of making irresponsible and reckless politically fuelled comments that have no legal merit, the SC should focus on its duty and examine the Chairman’s conduct and the constitutional validity of the laws.
The SC is not doing anything but giving people false hope by interjecting in a matter that is completely out of its power.
Furthermore, the SC cannot just insert itself into matters for which there is no petition from the aggrieved party (i.e. farmers) and the farmers have not asked the SC for anything.
The farmers are very clear in their position, which is that the government made unfair laws, and that the government has the power to take them back. It is clear to anyone examining closely that the SC is shamefully allowing itself to be utilized as a pawn by the Modi government to further perpetuate anti-farmer sentiments under the illusion of .
The SC is supposed to be an impartial and separate entity of the government, whose job is to uphold human rights and the constitution above all in order to safeguard the people of the nation from the government.
Justice Markandey Katju (former Supreme Court Judge of India), spoke with Faizan Mustafa, legal scholar and vice-chancellor of NALSAR University of Law, about the SC’s remarks. Justice Katju expressed his frustrations.
He shared his concerns after speaking to his colleagues and finding that those who do not agree with Modi are generally not given the platform to speak. The Chief Justice of India, Sharad Arvind Bobde is making public statements on behalf of the SC and he was appointed by Prime Minister Modi and is publicly known to be in blind support of his government.
The SC has appointed a committee to arbitrate the deadlock between the farmers and the government, but the farmers were not asked for their input on who should be on the committee. Meanwhile, the committee comprises known allies of the government who have shown their public support for the farm bills, which raises the question of how it can be seen as unbiased.
The committee is merely a Trojan horse, employed by the Modi government in order to derail the farmers' efforts and show them to be stubborn and unwavering when they refuse to cooperate with a biased committee who has no regard for their rights.
Even if the farmers and government work with a committee and come to an agreed upon solution to amend the laws, the Supreme Court cannot implement the amendments.
The amendments have to again go through the parliamentary process, and the parliament has to pass any changes -- bringing us back to square one.
Therefore, it is quite clear that the government is trying to push the responsibility of a solution onto the Supreme Court and its committee -- who have no legal say in the matter to begin with -- in order to conceal the fact that they have the power to amend the laws right now if they really wanted to.
The Modi government is trying to trap the farmers into a lengthy bureaucratic battle with no real merit, in order to undercut their resources and strength, while painting them to be stubborn and uncooperative if they don't.
The Supreme Court is creating an image of support and solidarity with the farmers by showing sympathy and concern for their health and well-being, while simultaneously ransacking their voices and efforts.
At the same time, the government is underestimating the farmers and hoping that they can't see through such cunning tactics.
However, the farmers are intelligent and persistent in their morals, and that's why they are wary of the Supreme Court's involvement, because they rightfully see it as pushing the Modi government's agenda while being disguised as a helping hand.
The SC is to meet with Delhi police soon regarding the farmers’ protests in light of the Republic Day celebrations in the capital on January 26th.
The government is accusing the farmers of having violent plans and leaning further into its anti-farmer propaganda. The farmers have explicitly denied any rumours about their intentions to disrupt the parade.
About the Author: Gurshabad Kang's educational background in Biology and Psychology is inspired by her lifelong pursuit to seek and decipher the human connection. She loves McDonald’s fries, long walks on the beach, and telling people how to correctly pronounce her name. She regularly forces her friends to sit in her car & record a podcast aptly named Sitting In The Car. You can find her but more importantly her dog, @gurshabadkang on all platforms.
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