Farmers’ protest | SC-appointed panel members not on the side of any party or the govt: Anil Ghanwat

Members of the Supreme Court-appointed panel on farm laws will not let their personal views on these Acts come in the way of their deliberations with various stakeholders, key committee member Anil Ghanwat said on January 19, while asserting that they are not on the side of any party or the government.

After their first meeting in New Delhi, Mr. Ghanwat said the first round of consultations with farmers and other stakeholders has been scheduled for January 21.

The Supreme Court had set up the four-member panel on January 11, but one of them, Bhupinder Singh Mann, recused himself later after questions were raised by the agitating farmer unions about the views expressed by all members in the past in support of the contentious laws, against which thousands are protesting on Delhi borders for almost two months now.

Separately, nine rounds of talks have taken place between the government and agitating unions without any concrete resolution.

Mr. Ghanwat, who is the president of the Shetkari Sanghatana, said the panel will hold its first round of talks with farmers and other stakeholders on January 21.

“The biggest challenge for panel is to convince agitating farmers to come and speak with us. We will try our best,” he said.

Mr. Ghanwat further said the committee will seek views of farmers and all other stakeholders on the new farm laws, besides the Central and State governments.

“Panel members will keep their personal views on farm laws aside while preparing report to be submitted to the Supreme Court,” he said.

The committee has been appointed by the Supreme Court and it is up to the apex court whom to appoint, he said on whether any replacement would be made for Mann.

“We have been given a responsibility and we will fufil it properly,” Mr. Ghanwat said.

“We want to request those farmers who don’t want to come before us that we are neither from any party nor from the government side. We are from the Supreme Court side,” he said on allegations by the agitating unions and Opposition parties that all the members were pro-government.

“Come and talk to us. We will listen to you and present your views before the court. We request them to come and speak to us,” Mr. Ghanwat said.

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