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New Agriculture Reform Laws Allow Big Investors To Poor Farmers With Liability Clauses Beyond Their Understanding: MP Farmers Leader Moves SC [Read Petition]

Mehal Jain
4 Oct 2020 5:53 AM GMT
New Agriculture Reform Laws Allow Big Investors To Poor Farmers With Liability Clauses Beyond Their Understanding: MP Farmers Leader Moves SC [Read Petition]
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After RJD MP Manoj Jha, the Supreme Court has now been moved in a PIL challenging the constitutional validity of the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 and the Farmer (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020.MP Congress Leader D. P. Dhakad, in his plea, avers that the said Acts were passed amidst a...

After RJD MP Manoj Jha, the Supreme Court has now been moved in a PIL challenging the constitutional validity of the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 and the Farmer (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020.

MP Congress Leader D. P. Dhakad, in his plea, avers that the said Acts were passed amidst a large unprecedented fiasco and despite the largest-ever witnessed dissent by the opposition in the Rajya Sabha vide the Viva Voce vote on September 20. "These Acts, which were passed along with the Essential Commodities Amendment Act, 2020, have a weak and devastating effect on the federalism of the Republic of India,and are hence, liable to be struck down as unconstitutional, illegal and void", contends the petition, through advocate Sumeer Sodhi.

The plea submits that the agricultural sector employs nearly half of the workforce in the country. The state of Madhya Pradesh, which is at the heart of the country with its large area, enjoys diverse climatic and soil conditions suitable for a broad range of agricultural products. Agricultural sector in MP forms the backbone of its economy. It contributes almost 1/4 of the Gross State Domestic Product and is the main source of employment for over 65% of the population and constitutes about 60 to 75% of the Rural income.

The petition filed through Advocate Sumeer Sodhi advanced that the state of MP is also a major producer of linseed, mustard, sunflower and safflower. Agro-climatic diversity and topographical variations enable the state to grow a wide range of cereals, pulses, oil seed and cash crops, besides being home to myriad varieties of plant species, both in

Forest areas and outside. There are tropical fruits and vegetables, and spices like coriander, chilli and garlic are also vitally grown. Areas under cultivation of safflower and sunflower are also expanding.

"The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 provides for contract farming, under which farmers will produce crops as per contract with corporate investors for mutually agreed remuneration. It is feared that powerful investors would bind them to unfavourable contracts drafted by big corporate law firms, with liability clauses that would be beyond the understanding of poor farmers in most cases", contends the petitioner.

It is argued that according to the Legislature, the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 liberates farmers by giving them the freedom to sell anywhere, however, this would lead to corporatisation of agriculture.

"Federalism essentially means both the centre and state have the freedom to operate in that allotted spheres of power, in coordination with each other. Federalism, like constitutionalism and separation of powers, is not mentioned in the Constitution, however, it is the very essence of our constitutional scheme. The three new agricultural reform Acts are an attempt to invade into the lawmaking territory of the state government. No entry in respect of agriculture in the State List is subject to any entry in the Union or Concurrent Lists. Furthermore, in the Statement of Objects and Reasons, the constitutional provisions under which the Parliament has the power to legislate on the subject is covered", it is urged.

Click Here To Download Petition

[Read Petition]



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