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[Stubble Burning] SC To Consider Whether A Portion Of MSP Can Be Withheld From Farmers Indulging In Stubble Burning

Sanya Talwar
6 Oct 2020 4:15 PM GMT
[Stubble Burning] SC To Consider Whether A Portion Of MSP Can Be Withheld From Farmers Indulging In Stubble Burning
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The Supreme Court on Tuesday stated that it shall look into the suggestion of withholding a portion of Minimum Support Price (MSP) from farmers till it is verified that they did not indulge in stubble burning.A bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna & V. Ramasubramaniun was hearing an application filed by a Farmer Vikram Tongad urging the Court for an...

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday stated that it shall look into the suggestion of withholding a portion of Minimum Support Price (MSP) from farmers till it is verified that they did not indulge in stubble burning.

A bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna & V. Ramasubramaniun was hearing an application filed by a Farmer Vikram Tongad urging the Court for an alternative incentive mechanism for tweaking the amount of Rs. 100 per quintal and for its payment be deferred from within the MSP until it is verified that no stubble has been burnt.

During the hearing, CJI Bobde asked, "Will the smoke from stubble burning kill coronavirus?

"It will actually aggravate the Virus" Senior Advocate Vikas Singh responded.

Senior Advocate Siddharth Bhatnagar submitted that he had filed an application for requisite directions and that Stubble-burning will exacerbate COVID-19 transmission.

Senior Advocate Shyam Divan submitted that he had filed another application suggesting replication of measured adopted to control forest fires with respect to stubble burning.

"For forest fire, there is already a system, by which satellite imageries are captured, and messages are sent to the concerned forest officials for remedial measures. Why can't such measures be adopted with respect to stubble burning? The second suggestion is that a portion of Minimum Support Price should be withheld to verify if the farmer has indulged in stubble burning," submitted Divan.

CJI SA Bobde at this juncture asked, "Who is going to supervise and verify if the farmer has indulged in stubble burning?"

Advocate Charanpal Singh Bagri, representing farmers, objected to the suggestion of withholding MSP for stubble burning. He pointed out that on November 5, 2019, the top court had ordered that compensation should be granted to those small and marginal farmers who refrain from burning farm residue.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted before the bench that tinkering with MSP may not be in best interest of the farmers and that the Centre shall file a reply to the suggestion.

In this context, top court scheduled the case for further consideration on October 16.

The Court was hearing a PIL on air pollution in Delhi NCR. 

Taking note of the deterioration of air quality in Delhi-NCR, the Supreme Court had passed a slew of directions on November 4 and 6. To stop the practice of stubble burning by farmers in the neighbouring states, the Court directed the governments of Haryana, Punjab, UP and Delhi to grant financial assistance of Rs 100 per quintal within seven days to small and marginal farmers for handling crop residue of non-basmati rice to ensure that they do not burn stubble to clean their fields.

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