Centre’s affidavit an attempt to mislead SC, nation: Congress

Not even perfunctory consultations were made on farm laws, it says.

The Narendra Modi government’s affidavit filed in the Supreme Court on January 11 claiming that due consultations were made before bringing in the three farm laws is an attempt to “prevaricate, distort, misrepresent and mislead”, the Congress said on January 13.

At an online press conference, party spokesperson and senior Supreme Court lawyer Abhishek Singhvi said the government’s affidavit is at variance to an RTI reply given by them.

In reply to two RTI applications filed by activist Anjali Bhardwaj who sought details of pre-legislative consultations, the information officer had said “this CPIO does not hold any record in this matter”.

The government in its affidavit said it is being filed “for the purpose of dispelling the erroneous notion that the protesters have peddled that the Central government and Parliament never had any consultative process or examination of issues by any Committee before passing of the laws in question”.

And as examples of pre-legislative consultations, the government quotes circulating Draft Model Acts in 2003 and 2017 to the State governments among other things. The government claimed that the “legislations are not hurriedly made but are a result of two decades of deliberations”.

“Can you call this elaborate consultative process? For a law that you bring in 2020, you circulate Model Act in 2017,” Mr. Singhvi said. He said not even perfunctory consultations were done.

“It is clear that there are serious attempts at prevarication, distortion, misrepresentation and misleading of the nation, the hon’ble apex court and all relevant stakeholders, apart from indulging in blatantly contumacious conduct.”

These laws, he said, were rammed down the throat of Parliament. “The government has attempted to fool all the people of India all the time by practising falsehoods on stilts. Unfortunately, they have not even spared the hon’ble Supreme Court.”

He also said bringing the laws shows incoherence within the government since it was well aware the serious lack of legislative competence in passing uniform all India Acts which is why it sent out the Model Acts to be adopted by the States. “The content of such model laws was also different from the three enactments as passed without discussion in Parliament,” he said.

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