Pune: In order to redress injustice caused to farmers, law students, who are working with city-based lawyer Asim Sarode, have drafted ‘National Agricultural Produce Price Confirmation Tribunal Act 2018’. The law students, who are mainly from farmers’ families, have formed a group called ‘Lawyers for Earth Justice’ while working with Sarode’s Sahyog Trust. This will be the first law to protect livelihood rights of farmers, if passed.
This draft was sent to Hingoli MP Rajeev Satav, who will submit the draft law as a Private Member Bill in the coming Lok Sabha on March 23.
Adv Sarode said, “India is recognised as an agrarian nation, yet the condition of farmers is getting worse due to lack of minimum support price (MSP). There is an absolute violation of farmers’ rights envisaged in the Constitution. Article 323-B (g) of the Constitution has scope to make such law for farmers but no government has looked into it. The MSP is not defined, the rights of farmers are being violated and there is no redressal mechanism. If ‘National Agricultural Produce Price Confirmation Tribunal Act 2018’ is passed in Parliament, farmers can be heard against the injustice done to them in the tribunal established under this Act.”
Law students Deepak Chatap, Vaishnav Ingole, Rakesh Mali and Aamir Shaikh have played an important role in drafting the Act. Senior thinker Dr Vishwambhar Chaudhary, as well as Giridhar Patil, the head of Kisan Putra Movement, Amar Habib and Adv Ajay Talhar, helpfully guided the students.
As per the proposed law, a retired judge of the Supreme Court will be the president of the tribunal, with the retired judges of the High Court as its judicial members, and the expertise of agronomist will collectively handle the work of the tribunal. It is mentioned in the present drafted Act that the decision of fixing the minimum level of farm productivity, fixing the interest of the farmer, and the hard work of farming, which is to be considered for agricultural production value, is to be decided on subsidies.
This Act can take cognizance of inflation, the profit and increase in the prices of commodities in the global market, the farmers’ and agricultural consumer’s protection, in relation to the decline in agricultural production prices due to the low quality and defective chemical pesticides on agricultural environment and agricultural production.
Chaudhary added, “According to the draft, the tribunal will be entitled to take into account the basic agricultural issues related to the right to the farmer’s livelihood, and not to get suitable market value for farming.”
Adv Sarode further informed, “This Act clearly states that the determination of the National Agricultural Product Prices shall be based on the principles of sustainable development and precautionary measures. In the said draft, it is clearly defined, what is the basic question related to unjust victim, human rights, farmers, proper market value, essential commodities, minimum support price, agricultural and agricultural product price determination. It provides clear explanations.”
Features of proposed law
The Act states that the determination of the National Agricultural Product Prices will have the power to give an order to the government to control agricultural production, in respect of import-export.
According to the prices declared in relation to agricultural produce and various conclusions given by the tribunal, the order passed by the tribunal can be given to the farmer by the margins of the prices fixed by the tribunal.
Due to the inadequate and arbitrary system of agricultural production, the loss of the farmers and the loss to their farming, the rights of the survival of their family, the right to claim relief, compensation and the loss of agricultural land will be provided by this Act.
The tribunal reserves the right to determine the National Agricultural Product Prices for justice to farmers, without having any conventional laws, but by any best self-agreed process.