Will release Supreme Court-appointed panel’s report on farm laws if apex court doesn’t do so: Panel member

Shetkari Sanghatana President Anil J Ghanwat said the panel’s report was in “favour of farmers” and will decide next week on releasing the report in the public domain.

With the Centre deciding to repeal the three farm laws, a member of the Supreme Court-appointed panel – which has already submitted its report on these contentious legislations to the apex court – on Friday said the purpose of the report is over now and will release the report in the public domain, if the apex court does not do so.

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Shetkari Sanghatana President Anil J Ghanwat said the panel’s report was in “favour of farmers” and will decide next week on releasing the report in the public domain.

The three-member Supreme Court-appointed committee – after studying the three farm laws and consultation with stakeholders – had submitted its report to the apex court on March 19.

Since then, the report has not been made public yet despite Mr. Ghanwat having requested the Chief Justice of India in a letter dated September 1, to release the panel’s report in the public domain saying its “recommendations will pave the way to resolve the ongoing farmers’ agitation.” In a major move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the nation on Friday morning announced repealing of the three Central farm laws.

Speaking to PTI, Mr. Ghanwat said: “If these three farm laws are withdrawn, this report has no sense at all. …If the apex court does not make it public, I will make it public.” The Committee has spent three months preparing the report. “This should not go into the dustbin. It should not happen. I will make it public,” he said.

The Committee will meet on Monday and will take views of all three members on releasing the panel’s report in the public domain, he added.

Mr. Ghanwat further said, “the other members are academicians and professionals and they don’t have anything to do with the farmers’ movement. But I am a farmers’ leader. I have to take care of farmers.”

“I will take the initiative of releasing the panels’ report in the public domain in the interest of farmers. The farmers, press and the government should know recommendations made by the panel,” he said, adding that the report was in favour of farmers.

“The report will be a good reference for framing future laws on agriculture,” he added.

Asked what will be the fate of the report, the panel’s other member Ashok Gulati (agricultural economist and former chairman of the Commission for Agricultural) said, “It is the prerogative of the Supreme Court whether it wants to make it public or not. With the government’s decision to repeal new farm laws, the purpose of the report ends,” he said.

It’s been over a year now that farmers are protesting at Delhi border against the three Central farm laws – Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act.

“At least now, farmers don’t have a case to keep agitating. Farmers’ demand in any case has drifted away from the farm laws to make the minimum support price (MSP) legal,” he added.

The apex court had suspended the implementation of three farm laws and constituted a Committee to report on these laws on January 12 this year.

Apart from Mr. Ghanwat and Mr. Gulati, the other members of the Committee are Pramod Kumar Joshi who is an agricultural economist and Director for South Asia at International Food Policy Research Institute. Mr. Joshi was not available for comments.

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