Committee cannot be discredited by the views of members: SC
Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde on Tuesday said that the criticism going around against the three members of an Expert Committee formed by the Supreme Court to hear concerns of farmers over the new farm laws was totally unwarranted.
A bench headed by CJI Bobde on Tuesday remarked, “We are noticing there is some misunderstanding of the law. When we appoint a committee and we find the members have expressed their opinions on the subject, they are still entitled to continue.”
The CJI said “Speaking in general, people are expected to be intelligent and informed. You are entitled to give your view. There is lack of comprehension about the composition of a committee. This is not a situation where somebody alleges bias towards a person whose relative is a beneficiary.”
Senior advocate Sidharth Luthra was part of a three-member committee.
Luthra said, “Today we are moving towards a hybrid system and norms must be laid down for having a mix of physical and virtual proceedings for not just hearings but also trial through video-conferencing.”
The bench, also comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and Vineet Saran, requested Luthra to assist them as amicus curiae in this regard.
Justice Bobde said, “Where is the question of your disqualification? Everybody is entitled to speak their mind.”
On January 12, the Court formed a four member committee comprising Bhupinder Singh Mann (National President, BKU and All India Kisan Coordination Committee), Pramod Kumar Joshi (Agricultural Economist, Director for South Asia, International Food Policy Research Institute), Ashok Gulati, Agricultural Economist and Former Chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, and Anil Ghanwat, President, Shetkari Sanghatana.
News about pro-farm law comments expressed by the four members came before the commitee could begin its work.
On January 14, Bhupinder Singh Mann who was one of the member of the commitee withdrew from the committee leaving just three members in the commitee.
Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) filed an affidavit in Supreme Court demanding the removal of the three members alleging that they were biased in favour of the farm laws last week.