On 14th October, 30 protesting Farmers’ Organizations from Punjab briefly attended a gathering called by the Centre for discussing the contentious Farm laws which passed recently. However, the meeting ended abruptly as Union Minister for Agriculture Narendra Singh Tomar was reported to be absent. The agitated farmers started raising slogans at KrishiBhavan (the venue of the meeting) and that they even tore up the documents of the farm laws. The Farmers’ Organizations were headed by BharatiyaKisan Union.
In the epicenter of the protesting ground
When the LokSabha passed the bill , the farmers, on October 1, boycotted the large corporate houses in Punjab owned primarily by MukeshAmbani, Gautam Adani. every week later, they felt the warmth when there was a drop of fifty sales at Reliance petrol pumps. The farmers also encouraged people to boycott Jio sim cards, many even burnt them.
Brief background of the new law
According to the new laws, farmers are now allowed to sell anywhere in India, are going to be ready to deal directly with the large corporates. On this, the farmers fear that they could be completely manipulated by the large corporates. They also fear that ,with the phasing out of state controlled APMC market, they’ll not get any MSP (Minimum Support Price). Punjab and Haryana governments could lose ₹3,500 and ₹1,600 crore respectively annually as they can’t levy market fees outside the APMC areas now. within the Centre’s reply, they assert that this law could liberate the farmers from the clutches of the middlemen and there are often significant improvement in farming technology. Punjab Govt, on October 19 to convene a session to form legislation for countering this law. Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra also expressed earlier that they could not implement this law. Whereas Kerala will challenge thisin the Supreme Court. Now the question is –
‘Do the states have the constitutional power to challenge this law’?
As per the Union vs H.S Dhillon (1972), constitutionality of parliamentary laws are often challenged only on two grounds – when it’s the topic within the state list and when it violates fundamental rights. because it doesn’t seem to violate any fundamental rights, does it fall within the subject of state list? consistent with the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, there are 97 subjects within the Union list where Central Government has explicit power to form legislation. Similarly, there are 66 subjects within the State list. And 47 subjects within the Concurrent list where both central and state governments have the proper to form laws. just in case of conflicts between the 2 parties, the laws made by the Central Government will prevail.
In the Seven Schedule, terms concerning agriculture occur at 15 places. within the Union list, there’s been mention on taxes, duties on income, assets – but all specifically excluding those in respect of agriculture. an equivalent thing applies to Concurrent list also . However, there are eight entries within the state list which contain terms concerning agriculture. Hence, it’s clear that the Union List and Concurrent List put matters concerning agriculture outside Parliament’s jurisdiction, and provides state legislatures exclusive power. Now there’re many inquiries to ask – ‘Should the constitution are amended before enacting these laws?’ Will Supreme Court not stay this law like incase of CAA, UAPA?Is our country actually a federal nation!