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'New laws will expose farmers to corporate greed': Union moves SC

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Hemant Waje
Last updated on: December 11, 2020 21:35 IST
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Amid continuing protests at Delhi borders against the Centre's three new agri laws, farmers' body 'Bhartiya Kisan Union Bhanu' (BKUB) has moved the Supreme Court seeking to intervene as a party in a pending plea challenging the constitutional validity the legislations.

 

IMAGE: Farmers arrive by tractors at Singhu border during their protest against the Centre's new farm laws in New Delhi. Photograph: Ravi Choudhary/PTI Photo

A bench headed by Chief Justice Justice S A Bobde, on October 12, had issued a notice to the Centre by agreeing to test the validity of the laws on the pleas filed by Rashtriya Janata Dal lawmaker from Rajya Sabha, Manoj Jha and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Rajya Sabha MP from Tamil Nadu, Tiruchi Siva, and one by Rakesh Vaishnav of Chhattisgarh Kisan Congress.

The three laws -- Farmers' (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020 -- took effect from September 27 after President Ram Nath Kovind's assent.

BKUB, through its Mathura-based President Bhanu Pratap Singh, has sought impleadment as a party in the lead petition filed by DMK lawmaker Tiruchi Siva.

'These Acts are illegal and arbitrary, because, these Acts would pave way for cartelization and commercialization of the agriculture products and if allow to stand, we are going to completely ruin our country as the corporates can, with one stroke, export our agriculture products without any regulation, and may even result in famines,' the farmers' body said in its plea filed through lawyer A P Singh.

The laws are 'unconstitutional, anti-farmer' because, as per them, the farmers' position would become 'vulnerable' before corporate giants and the greed of multinational companies, it said.

'These laws would dismantle the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) system intended to insure fair prices for farm products,' it said.

These laws were passed 'hastily without having an adequate discussion' and a bare reading of the provisions would indicate that their implementation in current form will be disastrous and pave the way for exploitation of farmers, it said.

The Agricultural produce market committee had been acting as a 'protective shield around farmers' and due to the new laws, 'the market would ultimately fall to the corporate greed of multinational companies', it said.

The plea said that till date, farmer leaders and the nominees of the Central government have held talks six times but 'no fruitful purpose' has been served till now, it said.

Earlier, the top court had agreed to test the constitutional validity of these laws without acceding to the interim pleas of some of the petitioners that the operation of the statutes be stayed for the time being.

RJD leader Jha, who filed the plea through lawyer Fauzia Shakil, had said the laws would expose marginal farmers to the exploits of big corporates.

Jha had said: "The impugned legislations corporatise agriculture and ushers in an unregulated and exploitative regime.

A farmer would not have the knowledge to negotiate the best terms with a private company.

DMK MP Siva also raised similar issues against the farm laws and said they 'are prima facie unconstitutional, illegal and arbitrary'.

He contended that the Acts are anti-farmer, brought out during the COVID-19 pandemic to benefit few corporations who are close to the corridors of power.

The plea of Congress Lok Sabha MP from Kerala, T N Prathapan has not be listed so far for the hearing in the court.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Hemant Waje© Copyright 2021 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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