India: new agricultural laws temporarily suspended by Supreme Court

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Farmers shout slogans during their ‘Delhi Chalo’ protest march against the new agricultural laws at the Singhu Border Center on December 2, 2020 in New Delhi, India.
Sonu Mehta | Hindustan Times via Getty Images
India’s Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered an indefinite stay over the implementation of new farm laws that sparked widespread protests from farmers, 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 which they say benefit large private buyers and hurt producers.

Chief Justice Sharad Bobde said in a hearing that the Supreme Court will establish a panel to hear farmers’ grievances.

“We have the power to form 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 the farmers. ”

There were no other immediate details.

India says the laws are aimed at modernizing an outdated farming system hampered by waste and bottlenecks in the supply chain.

But farm leaders are calling for the laws to be repealed, which they say is an attempt to erode a long-standing mechanism that guarantees farmers a minimum support price for their crops.

The government said there was no question of such a setback, and eight rounds of talks failed to find common ground. The two sides are due to meet next Friday.

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