New Delhi, September 30
A Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) Rajya Sabha MP has moved the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of the newly enacted three contentious legislations on farmers and agriculturists.
Parliament has recently passed the ‘Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020’, ‘Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020’ and ‘The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020’, which got the assent of President Ram Nath Kovid and have come into effect from September 27.
DMK leader Tiruchi Siva, in his plea said that these new legislations “are prima facie unconstitutional, illegal and arbitrary”.
He contended that the impugned three Acts are anti-farmer and anti-agriculturists, brought out during pandemic time with the sole intention to benefit few corporations who are close to the corridors of power.
“These Acts would pave way for cartelisation and commercialisation of the agricultural produces and if allowed to stand, are going to ruin India as the corporates can, with one stroke, export our agricultural produce without any regulation, and may even result in famines,” he said in his plea.
Siva added that “Very soon, the country which fought for its independence from the British will have to wage war to free itself from the clutches of crony capitalism”.
He said that these new laws are unconstitutional not only for want of legislative competence of the Union on the subject of Agriculture and Land Tenure but also would usher a new exploitative regime for the poor farmers of the Country, who are entirely dependent on earning their livelihood, by selling their produce in the market.
The five-time Member of Parliament said that the Amendment to Essential Commodities Act under the impugned Act 2020 is to facilitate such business in agricultural produces being carried out under the new enactments “which loosen the strings of black markets of regulating stock limit and stocking the agricultural produces for marketing”.
“Suffice it to say that the impugned Acts attack the very foundation of the agricultural fabric of the country that was built to safeguard the interests of the farmers and not leave them at the mercy of the new era of privatisation,” he said in his plea.
Siva said that the impugned Acts would now create an alternative that’s outside the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC), which could result in two perverse consequences.
“One is that the APMC continues to set the reference price which will make no sense because if the private players still look to the APMC for a reference price, then the whole idea of getting rid of the inefficient APMC doesn’t hold. Furthermore, Large-scale trade outside the mandi is bound to happen because new players will prefer to trade outside the mandi where they don’t have to pay charges. APMC traders too might now prefer to operate outside the mandi for the same reason,” he said.
The Rajya Sabha MP said that Parliament lacks the legislative competence to enact these legislations under Art 246(3) and all the three impugned enactments are in violation of Article 14, 21, 23 and of the Constitution of India and “is therefore, accordingly liable to be struck down as unconstitutional, illegal and void”.
Earlier, a Congress MP T N Prathapan, who represents Thrissur Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala has moved the top court challenging the constitutional validity of the new farm laws. PTI