IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 15th Jan

“Nobody ever wrote down a plan to be broke, fat, lazy, or stupid. Those things are what happen when you don’t have a plan.” – Larry Winget

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Editorial Hunt is an initiative to dilute major Editorials of leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Here we choose two editorials on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC MAINS 2020-21.

EDITORIAL HUNT #316 :“SC Stays Implementation of Farm Laws : Analysis | UPSC

SC Stays Implementation of Farm Laws : Analysis | UPSC
P.D.T. Achary
SC Stays Implementation of Farm Laws : Analysis | UPSC

      HEADLINES:

Farm laws, their constitutional validity, and hope

      CENTRAL THEME:

In the event of further judicial intervention, there are grounds and an opportunity for the government to revisit the laws

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : JUDICIAL REVIEW

      MAINS QUESTION:

Farm Bills were passed in the Rajya Sabha in violation of Article 100 of the Constitution and can be challenged in the Supreme Court on that ground. Substantiate -(GS 2)

      LEARNING: 

  • The stay order
  • Current Situation
  • Not in accordance with the rules
  • Voice vote is unrecognised
  • Way Forward

      INTRODUCTION: 

  • STAY ORDER : With the Supreme Court of India staying the operation of the farm laws and setting up a committee of experts to negotiate with the government and the farmers, the agitation being carried on by the farmers is entering a new phase.

The farmers’ unions have not reacted favourably to the formation of the experts’ committee.

  • MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE : The committee does not comprise entirely impartial experts.
  • CRITICISM : Most of them are well known and strong defenders of the farm laws, and are critical of the agitation.

      BODY: 

THE SITUATION NOW

  • CONDUCTING NEGOTIATIONS  : The members of the committee ought to and should be known to have an open mind on the core issues, which alone will create a necessary confidence in the parties concerned.

The farmers have, however, made it clear that they will not agree to anything less than the repeal of these laws

  • STATUS OF AGITATION : Taking the above facts into consideration, it would mean that the present agitation is likely to continue indefinitely.
  • OBJECTIVES OF THE COMMITTEE : It is not yet clear what impact the report of this committee will have on the final decision of the Supreme Court on the question of the constitutional validity of the farm laws.

Whatever the experts’ committee recommends, the question of the constitutional validity of the farm laws can be decided only after a proper hearing of the matter before the Court
 

  • VALIDITY OF LAWS : The most curious thing about a decision on this issue by the Supreme Court is that if the Court upholds the validity of the laws, the agitation will not stop because the farmers’ demand is for the repeal of the laws.
  • MAXIMALIST APPROACH : New Delhi seems to have taken a maximalist approach, particularly on the question of a repeal of the farm laws.

NOT IN ACCORDANCE WITH RULES

  • A MATTER OF STATE LIST : The constitutional validity has been challenged mainly on the ground that Parliament has no legislative competence to enact these laws, the subject matter of which is essentially in the State list.
  • FURTHER EXAMINATION : There is a more fundamental reason to challenge these enactments which will be examined now which revolves around debate and discussion.
  • VOTING METHODOLOGY : It is a universally acknowledged fact that the voting on the Farm Bills in the Rajya Sabha was not done in accordance with the rules of the House.
  • RECORDING THE VOTES : These rules require the Chair to order the recording of votes (division) by members even when one member demands it.

The Deputy Chairman of the House, who was conducting the proceedings at that time, did not order division although a few members openly and loudly demanded it. 

  • DISORDER IN THE HOUSE : It is true that there was disorder in the House but it could have been controlled and a proper voting could have been conducted.Disorder was not taking place for the first time in the House.
  • VOICE VOTE : Thus, there was a violation of the rules of the House in passing the Bills by voice vote when there was a demand for division.

VOICE VOTE IS UNRECOGNISED

ARTICLE 100
Article 100 says that all questions at any sitting of either House shall be determined by a majority of votes of the members present and voting.

  • MAJORITY NUMBER : Majority can be determined only in terms of number, and therefore what this Article requires is that all questions in the House should be determined by recording the votes of the members present and voting.

Majority cannot be determined through voice vote.

  • PREVAILING PRACTICES : In fact the Constitution does not recognise voice vote to determine majority in a legislature.However, deciding a question by voice vote is a practice prevailing in all legislatures.

OPTIONS BEFORE THE JUDICIARY

ARTICLE 122
It is true that Article 122 of the Constitution protects the proceedings of the House from judicial review. 

  • RAJA RAM PAL CASE : The Supreme Court in Raja Ram Pal’s case had clarified that the proceedings can be challenged on substantive grounds like violation of the Constitutional provisions
  • NULLIFYING THE ACTS : The Court can strike down the whole laws as the requirement of Article 107 has not been fulfilled.
  • RECONSIDERATION : The Court may also invalidate the proceedings of the Rajya Sabha and send the three ‘Acts’ back to that House for further proceedings in accordance with the constitutional provisions.
  • REVISITING THE LAWS : These can then be referred to a Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha which can invite the farmers and all other stakeholders and finally produce better Bills.

      IASbhai Windup: 

CENTRALITY OF PARLIAMENT

  • CONSTITUTIONAL MANDATE : We may not forget that the issue that needs to be settled by the top court is only the constitutional validity of the laws.
  • LEGISLATIVE MANDATE : In resolving a problem like the agitation by farmers against the laws, the centrality of Parliament in the legislative process in all its dimensions should not be lost sight of.

Once the Court decides the legality or constitutionality of a law, the political and legislative aspects of the issue will have to be dealt with only by Parliament

  • DEBATE AND DISCUSSIONS : Parliament and its systems alone can produce a satisfactory solution.
       SOURCES:   THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | SC Stays Implementation of Farm Laws : Analysis | UPSC

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