Chief Justice of India SA Bobde on Tuesday, January 19, said that a person cannot be disqualified from being a member of a committee just because they have earlier expressed an opinion on the subject that is under consideration by the panel, Bar and Bench reported.
The CJI was referring to the four-member committee constituted by the Supreme Court to resolve the deadlock between protesting farmers and the government on three contentious farms laws.
"There is some confusion regarding the law," Bobde said. "One person may have an opinion before being part of the committee but his opinion can change. There is no way that such a person cannot be part of the committee."
The remarks came after Bharatiya Kisan Union President Bhupinder Singh Mann decided to quit the panel formed by the top court to hold talks with agitated farmers. Mann had said that he did not wish to "compromise farmers' interests".
"As a farmer myself and a Union leader, in view of the prevailing sentiments and apprehensions amongst farm unions and the public in general, I am ready to sacrifice any position offered or given to me so as not to compromise the interests of Punjab and farmers of the country," Mann had said.
Mann had stepped out of the panel after farmers had alleged that he supported the farm laws.
Last week, the SC had paused the implementation of the laws after it said that the Centre had failed to resolve the issue after several meetings.
On January 17, the Bharatiya Kisan Union Lokshakti had urged the Supreme Court to dissolve the committee, noting that it included experts who had openly supported the contentious legislation.
Besides Mann, other members on the panel included agricultural economists Ashok Gulati, Pramod Kumar Joshi and Shetkari Sanghatana member Anil Ghanwat.
After Mann quit the panel, the farmers' group requested the Court to remove the three members of the committee, and appoint those "who can make a report on the basis of mutual harmony, who can think fully about the interest of the farmers of India with impartiality, trust, goodwill, and appoint neutral and impartial personality of the country, not related to any political party".
Meanwhile, Ghanwat, on Tuesday said that the panel members will keep their personal views aside while preparing the report to be submitted to the apex Court.