On Thursday, Congress general secretary Randeep Surjewala welcomed BKU president Bhupinder Singh Mann's recusal from the Supreme Court-constituted committee. Acknowledging that Mann took this step taking into account the sentiments of farmers, Surjewala lamented that the Modi government was still not ready to take back the bills. According to him, the Centre was playing with the livelihood and lives of farmers.
Moreover, he alleged that the committee formed by the apex court had lost its relevance now. Earlier, Congress and other opposition parties such as TMC had questioned the credibility of the SC panel citing that all its members have backed The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. Earlier in the day, Mann recused himself from the committee "to not compromise the interests of Punjab and farmers of the country".
On Tuesday, a three-judge SC bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice V Ramasubramanian laid down the roadmap for the resolution of the standoff by staying the implementation of the farm laws. Moreover, it has not only ordered that the MSP system in place before the enactment of the agrarian legislation shall continue but also made it clear that the landholdings of the farmers shall be protected. As per the order, the SC-constituted committee comprising Mann, agricultural economist Ashok Gulati, Pramod Kumar Joshi- Director, South Asia, International Food Policy Research Institute and Shetkari Sanghatana president Anil Ghanwat will solicit the views of farm unions and the Centre.
This panel has been directed to submit its recommendations pertaining to the farm laws to the SC within two months from the date of its first sitting. Additionally, the representatives of all farmer unions, irrespective of whether they are holding a protest or not, have been asked to participate in the deliberations of the committee and put forth their viewpoints. Though the court said that it did not intend to stifle a "peaceful protest", it appealed to the farmers' unions to convince their members to get back to their livelihood as a result of this "extraordinary order".