Show Provisions Denying MSP In Farm Reform Laws, Supreme Court Asks Congress MP From Kerala

Show Provisions Denying MSP In Farm Reform Laws, Supreme Court Asks Congress MP From KeralaSupreme Court of India in Delhi. (Wikimedia Commons)
Snapshot
  • Chief Justice Bobde wondered: “So you want the old regime to continue? Show us the provision which withdraws MSP.”

The Supreme Court yesterday (28 January) asked the Congress Member of the Lok Sabha from Thrissur in Kerala to show the specific provision in the new agricultural laws that prevented farmers from getting the minimum support price (MSP) for their produce.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde sought this response after the Congress MP T N Prathapan filed a petition saying farmers cannot survive without MSP.

The Lok Sabha member argued that the new farm laws opened the door for “greedy” multi-national companies to crush the agriculture market.

Chief Justice Bobde wondered: “So you want the old regime to continue? Show us the provision which withdraws MSP.”

The bench then asked the Centre to respond to the petition, which has now been tagged with other petitions filed challenging the farm reforms.

As part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan and to help the economy recover from the impact of novel Coronavirus pandemic, the Centre announced agricultural reforms with the objective of “One Nation, One Market”.

The reforms were passed as laws during the monsoon session of Parliament in September last year.

The three laws - The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 - help farmers to sell their produce anywhere across the country to anyone.

It also helps them to enter into contract farming and removes the barrier of stock limit on traders to store essentials such as potato, onion, and other produce.

While coming up with the new laws, the Narendra Modi government said the old agricultural marketing system centred around the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee mandis would continue, giving farmers to chose any option of their choice.

Mr Prathapan argued that the three laws have been passed to subvert the APMC system. Without the APMC, the market would fall to the corporate firms and farmers would be left without any protection, he said.

The petition was taken up after violence rocked national capital Delhi where farmers protesting against the agricultural reforms took out a tractor and left nearly 400 policemen injured in attacks by them.

They also stormed the Red Fort and hoisted farmers’ and Nishan Sahib flags.

The farmers have also been staging protests at the borders of the National Capital Region for two months now.

M.R. Subramani is Executive Editor, Swarajya. He tweets @mrsubramani

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