A Congress MP from Thrissur, T.N. Prathapan, moved Supreme Court on Monday, challenging the constitutional validity of the Farm Legislation like Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020.
President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday gave assent to three controversial farm bills passed in the monsoon session of Parliament amid growing protest by farm organizations.
The petition mounts the challenge on the grounds that these pieces of farm legislation are violative of Article 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution of India and accordingly “liable to be struck down as unconstitutional, illegal and void.”
The plea against farm legislation also added that the provisions under challenge are also in violation of the Directive Principles enshrined in Chapter IV of the Constitution.
- “A bare reading of its provisions will reveal that it is not a progressive piece of legislation”
- The new law provides for redressal from the Sub-Divisional Magistrate – who is in essence part of the “overburdened bureaucracy” – rather than from a court of law.
- the provisions of these legislations put farmers in a position of vulnerability and make them open to unchecked exploitation as they are “unaware of even their basic rights”
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’ community by concentration of power in the hands of a few corporates/individuals, multinationals and moneylenders, thus working against the very object it was seemingly created for, the plea said.
The plea against farm legislation claimed that “this act will open the doors to unchecked exploitations of the farmers, who are unaware of even their basic rights.”
The Bills stood passed through a voice vote in the Rajya Sabha and have now also received the President’s assent amid nationwide agitation among the farmers’ community.
The petitioner prays for a direction for the setting up of a Tribunal to redress the grievances pertaining to farmers’ issues in a manner similar to the tribunals that are set up under the Industrial Disputes Act, Consumer Protection Act, Labour Laws, etc.