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Putting Farm Laws On Hold Sets A Dangerous Precedent, Say Legal Experts

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The Supreme Court’s decision yesterday to put on hold three recently-legislated Central farm laws may have set a dangerous precedent whose implications will mostly show up only in future, legal experts believe. While the top court was well within its rights to “stay” laws passed by Parliament, what could be a matter of concern is that it may have come to conclusions based on “misconceived emotions”.

The government has been negotiating with unions representing thousands of farmers, especially from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and other states of India over the three laws passed in September. While several of the issues have been discussed and solutions to these mostly agreed upon, it is the issue of withdrawal of laws that neither party is willing to give in on, leading to a deadlock.

Such a deadlock becoming a reason for judicial intervention, let alone the holding in abeyance of laws passed by Parliament, may turn out to be problematic, according to experts.       

“The Supreme Court has taken the view (in some cases) that there can be a stay on legislation under some conditions. Normally the courts do not stay regularly legislation merely because its challenge is pending, but the power to stay the legislation based on the consequences that may arise is clear and the power vested. Therefore, the exercise of the power cannot be doubted,” said Sidharth Luthra, former Additional Solicitor General.

Yet, can a mere protest justify such intervention?

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