The Supreme Court has suspended new farming laws in India temporarily

Farmers chant slogans during the ‘Delhi Chalo’ protest march against the center’s new farm laws, at the Singo border on December 2, 2020 in New Delhi, India.

Sonu Mehta | Hindustan Times via Getty Images

India’s Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered an indefinite suspension of work due to the implementation of new agricultural laws that sparked widespread protests from farmers, saying they would form a committee to hear their objections.

For more than a month, tens of thousands of farmers have been camping on the outskirts of the capital, New Delhi, to protest against reform measures they say benefit large private buyers and harm farmers.

Chief Justice Sharad Pobdi said at a hearing that the Supreme Court would set up a committee to look into farmers’ complaints.

“We have the authority to form a committee, and the committee can provide us with the report,” he said, ordering a halt to work for an undisclosed period regarding the laws issued in September.

“We will protect farmers.”

No further details were provided.

India says the laws are aimed at modernizing an outdated agricultural system, which is suffering from waste and bottlenecks in the supply chain.

But farm leaders are calling for repeal of the laws, which they say are an attempt to undermine a long-standing mechanism that guarantees farmers a minimum support price for their crops.

The government said there was no doubt about such a pullback, and that eight rounds of talks failed to find common ground. The two sides are scheduled to meet next Friday.

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