Kerala Congress MP moves Supreme Court against newly enacted farm law

By: |
September 29, 2020 2:15 AM

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, received the Presidential assent on Sunday after both the Houses of Parliament passed the Bill earlier this month.

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, received the Presidential assent on Sunday after both the Houses of Parliament passed the Bill earlier this month.Farm laws have came into effect from September 27 after President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent.

Congress MP TN Prathapan on Monday moved the Supreme Court challenging the validity of various provisions of the controversial new farm law, terming it unconstitutional, anti-farmer and one that leaves farmers vulnerable to “corporate greed of multinational companies”.

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, received the Presidential assent on Sunday after both the Houses of Parliament passed the Bill earlier this month.

The 2020 Act, which allowed contract farming, aims at providing for a national framework on farming agreements that protects and empowers farmers to engage with agri-business and food processing firms, wholesalers, exporters or large retailers for farm services and sale of produce at a remunerative price framework in a fair and transparent manner, according to the Modi-led government.

However, Prathapan, who represents Thrissur Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala, claimed that the new laws would spell disaster for 14.5 crore farmers and would lead to their exploitation by opening a parallel and unregulated market for a few corporates, individuals, multinationals and moneylenders.

Seeking striking down of the new law, Prathapan termed it “unconstitutional, illegal and void” and also alleged it to be violative of Article 14 (right to equality), 15 (prohibition of discrimination) and 21 (right to life and liberty) of the Constitution.

The Congress MP said the law was passed hastily without having an adequate discussion and a bare reading of its provisions would reveal that it was not a progressive piece of legislation. “In fact, the implementation of the Act in its current form will spell disaster for the farming community by opening a parallel market which is unregulated and gives enough room for exploitation of the farmers,” says the petition. “Without Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) acting as a protective shield around the farmers, the market would ultimately fall to the corporate greed of multinational companies who are more profit-oriented and have no care for the condition…of the poverty-stricken farmers,” the petition stated.

The MP claimed the inherent weakness of the agriculture sector cannot be addressed by way of monetisation of the farmers’ produce to increase their income. Instead, strengthening the existing APMC system by infusing more capital and effective management of the minimum support price (MSP) was the need of the hour, he claimed.

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