Farm laws: Centre files affidavit in SC

Our Legal Correspondent New Delhi | Updated on January 11, 2021

The Centre filed an urgent affidavit on Monday in the Supreme Court, saying that protesters are peddling an “erroneous notion” that the government and Parliament passed the controversial farm laws without consulting or discussing with anyone.

The Union Ministry of Agriculture's affidavit comes hours after the Supreme Court lashed out at the government for its inability to resolve the farmers' protests.

The court has indicated that it would stay the implementation of the laws and have an independent committee negotiate with the farmers. The government, however, said the fact that protests were confined to only one part of the country shows that majority of the farming communities were happy with the laws.

“The legislations were not hurriedly made but are a result of two decades of deliberations,” the government assured the court. The past two decades had seen “intensive engagements with the States” on the new farm laws.

The government said, prior to the new regime, farmers under the State agricultural market produce committees (APMC) were forced to sell their products at "market yards" to only a limited number of traders licensed under the APMC law. The pandemic situation, with lowering demands, had necessitated the need for expanding market for farmers beyond State boundaries through a facilitative legal framework and promotion of inter-State trade.

The new regime gives farmers options to sell their produce outside the market yards.

The Centre has also implemented the recommendations of the Swaminathan Report "by increasing the Minimum Support Price (MSP) one and half times of the weighted average cost of production with bumper procurement at MSP

"The farmers of the nation are happy as they are given an additional option over and above the existing one," the Centre said.

The government said multiple attempts to talk to the farmers about the laws have been stonewalled by the latter, whose stand has been " either you repeal the laws or no discussion would be made".

"The Central government has done it's best to engage with the farmers to remove any misapprehensions or misgivings in their minds and no efforts have been found lacking," the affidavit said.

Published on January 11, 2021

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