'Release report on farm laws': SC-appointed panel member Anil Ghanwat to CJI

By Express News Service

MUMBAI:  Days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised to repeal the contentious agricultural laws, Anil Ghanwat, one of the members of the Supreme Court-appointed panel to study the farm legislations, wrote to Chief Justice of India N V Ramana on Tuesday urging him to release the report in the public domain at the earliest or authorise the committee to do so.

Ghanwat, a senior leader of the Shetkari Sangathan, also said at a media briefing that he would mobilise one lakh farmers to Delhi in the next few months to push for agriculture reforms which he asserted were “badly required”. He also said that the protesting farmers’ demand to make MSP a legal guarantee and ensure procurement of all agricultural crops at MSP was not feasible.

The three-member panel had submitted its report to the Supreme Court on March 19. But it has not been made public despite Ghanwat having requested the CJI on September 1 to release it saying the “recommendations will pave the way to resolve the ongoing farmers’ agitation”.

In his letter to the CJI, Ghanwat said that though the panel’s report is “no longer relevant” following the government’s decision to repeal the farm laws, the recommendations are of great public interest. It is important to ensure that the ‘reform impulse’ that was reflected in the farm laws is not ‘diluted’, he asserted. He wrote that the report “can also play an educational role and ease the misapprehensions of many farmers who have, in my opinion, been misguided by some leaders.”

Ghanwat requested the CJI to consider directing Centre to develop an exemplary and robust policy process that is followed in developed nations. He suggested setting up a committee to prepare a white paper for making new farm laws.

On the protesting farmers’ demand to make MSP a legal guarantee, Ghanwat said, “Even if the government procures all crops, how will they be stored and disposed of?” The solution was to liberate the agriculture sector and give marketing freedom to farmers, he added.