Congress MP from Kerala T.N. Prathapan has moved a PIL in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the farm Bills recently passed by Parliament.
President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday gave his assent to the contentious farm Bills, which has seen the Opposition and farmers hit the streets in protest.
Prathapan urged the top court to quash The Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 as violative of Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution.
The plea argue that without the 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 conditions of poverty-stricken farmers dependent on farming for their livelihood.
The plea, filed through advocate James P Thomas, contended that the APMC deterred the exploitation of the farmers by providing a minimum support price which would guarantee that the farmer who comes to the APMC would not leave empty-handed.
In the plea Prathapan said: “The promotion of agreements for farming produce will weaken the process of monetisation as per current structure of The Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020. Through the provisions mentioned in the above noted act, de-risking of agriculture as claimed by the Government at various stages is wrong on the analysis of the provisions enacted.”
The petitioner urged the apex court to issue direction declaring Section(s) 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 13, 14, 18 and 19 of The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 as being unconstitutional, illegal and void.
He contended that The Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 has been hastily passed without adequate discussion and that a bare reading of its provisions will reveal that it is not a progressive piece of legislation.
“The matter is of substantial public interest and is emergent as there is a need for striking down laws which violate the rights of the 14.5 crore citizens who are engaged in farming before serious financial damage is caused to them and the families of such persons”, said the plea.