NEW DELHI, Dec 17 - The Supreme Court on Thursday acknowledged the right of farmers to non-violent protests and mooted the idea of putting on hold the contentious farm laws to enable negotiations with agitating farmers which was opposed by the Centre saying agriculturists would then not come forward for the talks.
The apex court, which made it clear that the issue of farmers� protest and the right to move freely of others would be dealt on priority and not the validity of laws at the moment, also said it was thinking of setting up an �impartial and independent� panel of agriculture experts and farmer unions to resolve the impasse.
The top court said it was of the view that the farmers� right to protest should not infringe the fundamental rights of others to move freely and in getting essential food and other supplies as right to protest cannot mean blockade of the entire city.
The apex court, which said it was worried with the way things are going on, was told by both the Centre and a farmers union that the negotiations are not happening at the moment.
It also said farmers cannot keep on protesting without talking to the government.
�You continue the protest. You have the right. But you have a purpose also and that purpose is served only if you talk, discuss and reach a conclusion,� a bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde said but added that in a democracy, police and authorities have to be given power to prevent the protestors from infringing the rights of others.
The bench said it would pass order on constituting a committee only after hearing all the parties including the protesting farmer unions and putting on hold the implementation of new agri laws by the Centre would enable negotiations with farmers.
However, Attorney General KK Venugopal opposed the suggestion and said if the implementation of the farm laws are put on hold then farmers would not come forward for negotiations. The top court said it was not asking the Centre to stay the farm laws but only suggesting that its implementation be put on hold for the time being to enable the farmers to talk with the government. � PTI