Bhupinder Singh Mann excluded himself from the Supreme Court Committee for Farmers Movement

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Harleen Kaur Grewal

Chandigarh, January 14, 2021: The members of the committee formed by the Supreme Court to further look into the agricultural reform laws. Chief Bhupendra Singh Mann has given up his membership of the committee. Issuing a statement today, he thanked the Supreme Court for instating him into the committee, which was to submit the report to the Supreme Court after negotiating three agricultural laws between the farmers and the central government.

In a statement issued here, Mann thanked the court for nominating him to a four-member committee set up by the Supreme Court, but he could not compromise on peasant interests at all. He is withdrawing from this committee and is always standing with Punjab and farmers. Mann has also been a member of the Rajya Sabha. In view of his contribution to the peasant struggles, the Supreme Court included him in the committee.

Two days ago the Supreme Court had taken the initiative to end the deadlock between the farmers and the government over the agricultural laws. The Supreme Court had formed a four-member committee, withholding the implementation of the three new agricultural laws till further orders. The committee includes Bhupinder Singh Mann, chairman of the Bharatiya Kisan Union and All India Kisan Coordination Committee, agricultural economist and director of South Asia International Food Policy Research Institute, Dr. Pramod Joshi, agricultural economist and former chairman of the Agricultural Cost and Prize Commission, Ashok Gulati and the president of the Shetkari organization, Anil Ghanvat, but now Bhupinder Singh Mann has bowed out from the committee.

The Supreme Court has asked the committee to submit the report within two months, but after Mann’s separation from the committee, there has been confusion about how the report will be prepared. It is said that some farmer organizations did not agree with the committee. Mann was being pressurized by farmer organizations to withdraw from the committee.

From the day of the formation of the committee, Singhu, farmer organizations agitating on the Tikri Border, had rejected this committee. The internet has expressed its opinion about the committee members. Farmers’ organizations wonder how will they ever expect justice from such a committee.

Bhupinder Mann also wrote a letter to the Prime Minister in September 2020 regarding the three agricultural laws, which advocated amendments. Mann said, ”Even in these three laws, there is nothing that we were demanding. We had sought to repeal the compulsory Goods Act and replace it with a new law, in which we have been given a provision to knock on the door of the court, but this has not been done. In the new law, no change was made in the ninth schedule, but the laws passed by the current central government still need a lot of improvement.”

Bhupinder Singh Mann’s organization is active in the area of Gurdaspur. He was not with the 31 organizations that waged their agitation in Punjab in June when they passed ordinances related to farming laws. It is noteworthy that Bhupendra Singh Mann is considered close to Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and due to his efforts, Mann was also given the membership of Rajya Sabha.