The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the implementation of three controversial farm laws until further orders, and also ordered setting up a four-member panel headed by a former Chief Justice of India (CJI) to hear all the parties and stakeholders and report to the court.

On Tuesday, the apex court began pronouncing orders on various issues related to the new farm laws and the ongoing farmers’ agitation at Delhi borders since November 2020.

Here we take a look at the four members of the SC-appointed panel:

Bhupinder Singh Mann

Born in Gujranwala (Pakistan) in 1939, Bhupinder Singh Mann was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 1990 in recognition of his contribution to the farmers’ struggle. He served from 1990–1996. During Partition, his family moved from Faislabad to Batala, Punjab.

He now heads the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU), an association of farmers in various states. Mann, along with a few others, founded what was then known as ‘Farmer Friends Association’. Soon, it grew to a state-level body called ‘Punjab Kheti Bari Union’, and from there, into a national-level farmer organisation known as BKU. It’s part of the All India Kisan Coordination Committee (KCC) — a national level platform of 17 state-level farmers organisations.

Dr Pramod Kumar

He is the director for South Asia, International Food Policy Research Institute in New Delhi. Before that, he was director of National Academy of Agricultural Research Management in Hyderabad, and also director of the National Centre for Agricultural Economics and Policy Research in Delhi. His research areas were technology policy, market, and institutional economics.

Dr Joshi has received the Professor R C Agrawal Lifetime Award of Indian Society of Agricultural Economics and Dr M S Randhawa Memorial Award of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences. He has also served as the chairman of the SAARC Agricultural Centre’s governing board in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and UN-CAPSA governing board in Bogor, Indonesia.

Ashok Gulati

He is a past chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, the body that advises the government on food supplies and pricing policies. Born in 1954, Gulati was honoured with the Padma Shri in 2015 for his contribution to the field of agriculture. He was instrumental in the hiking the minimum support price of many food grains.

He is also the Infosys Chair Professor for Agriculture at Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations based in New Delhi. He was a member of the panel set up by the NDA government to restructure the Food Corporation of India to improve its operational and financial efficiency. Gulati worked as a Chair Professor NABARD at Institute of Economic Growth, New Delhi. He was the youngest member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC), from 1999 to 2001.

Anil Ghanwat

Anil Ghanwat is the president of the Shetkari Sanghatana, the apex farmers body in Maharashtra, Karnataka and other neighbouring states. Ghanwat and the union have been in the limelight for the past couple of months since the farmers protest for deciding to take a different route. In December, Ghanwat had said that they won’t be participating in the strike and will also oppose any move to roll back the three farm laws. Shetkari Sanghatana has been supporting the government during the farmers’ strike.

Ghanwat had said in December that the present laws will allow farmers access to a free market, which was denied so far. He felt this meant better prices for farmers, especially in Maharashtra.

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