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CONSTITUTIONAL VALIDITY OF THE FARMERS

(EMPOWERMENT AND PROTECTION) AGREEMENT ON PRICE

ASSURANCE, AND FARM SERVICES ACT, 2020 CHALLENGED

(Bar&Bench): A Congress MP from Thrissur TN Prathapan has moved the Supreme Court in

what is possibly the first challenge to the validity of the Farmers (Empowerment and

Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance, and Farm Services Act, 2020.

Prathapan seeks a declaration of the provisions of the Agreement on Price and the Farm

Services Act, along with the related notifications, as illegal, unconstitutional, and void. The

petition mounts the challenge on the grounds that these pieces of legislation are violative of

Article 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution of India and accordingly "liable to be struck down

as Unconstitutional, illegal and void." It adds that the provisions under challenge are also in

violation of the Directive Principles enshrined in Chapter IV of the Constitution.

It is contended that the Farmers Bills were passed hastily by Parliament, with enough or

adequate discussion on them.

"A bare reading of its provisions will reveal that it is not a progressive piece of

legislation," the petition submits.

It is added that opening of unregulated parallel markets, which is be enabled by these

legislations, would lead to the exploitation of farmers. The plea states,

"...the implementation of the act in its current form will spell disaster for the farming

community by opening a parallel market which is unregulated and gives enough room for

exploitation of the farmers’ community by concentration of power in the hands of a few

corporates/individuals, multinationals and moneylenders thus working against the very object

it was seemingly created for."

Some of the provisions in these legislations would put the farming community in a position

of receiving little redressal in case of disputes. The new law provides for redressal from the

Sub-Divisional Magistrate - who is in essence part of the "overburdened bureaucracy" -

 rather than from a court of law.

Significantly, the petitioner also prays for a direction for the setting up of a Tribunal to

redress the grievances pertaining to farmers' issues in a manner similar to the tribunals that

are set up under the Industrial Disputes Act, Consumer Protection Act, Labour Laws, etc.

Another concern raised is the possibility of exporters, traders and middlemen using the law to

their benefit by regulating and controlling the price through means such as hoarding and

creation of artificial demand. These contingencies, if arisen, would be highly detrimental to

the interests of farmers as well as consumers, the plea states.

The petition is drawn by Advocate Aashish George and filed through Advocate James P

Thomas.

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