Supreme Court Seeks Government Response on PIL for Farmer Welfare, Questions Petitioner's Approach


The Supreme Court has solicited the Central government's response to a public interest litigation (PIL) petition urging the implementation of comprehensive measures for the welfare of farmers, including the establishment of a price stabilization fund [Agnostos Theos vs Union of India and anr].

However, during the hearing, a Bench comprising Justices Surya Kant and KV Viswanathan urged the petitioner, Agnostos Theos, Managing Director of The Sikh Chamber of Commerce, to bolster the substantiation of claims in the plea with thorough research and evidence.

"You need to do better homework, research. The pleadings are evasive. Have you read expert reports? Are you for farmers or sugar lobby?" Justice Kant queried, highlighting the need for robust legal groundwork.

Echoing this sentiment, Justice Viswanathan questioned the feasibility of funding the proposed price stabilization fund, signaling the intricacies inherent in implementing such measures.

In the petition, filed through advocate Mridula Ray Bharadwaj, it was argued that the Central government's initiatives have failed to alleviate hunger and agrarian distress, attributing price volatility in agricultural commodities to discriminatory international policies, particularly those of the USA and the European Union.

To address these challenges, the petitioner advocated for the formulation of a national policy for farmers and emphasized the imperative of negotiating effectively with the World Trade Organisation to safeguard farmers' interests.

Central to the plea was the proposal for establishing a price stabilization fund aimed at mitigating fluctuations in crop prices, alongside the imposition of an agriculture cess and the creation of a common agricultural market platform to facilitate the efficient sale of produce.

This legal endeavor follows the Supreme Court's previous refusal to entertain a plea by the same petitioner, seeking directives to the Central and State governments regarding the demands of protesting farmers for legislation guaranteeing a minimum support price (MSP) for various crops.

As the legal discourse unfolds, it underscores the judiciary's pivotal role in adjudicating matters of public interest while advocating for rigorous research and substantiation to fortify legal contentions, thereby ensuring the efficacy of judicial interventions in addressing societal concerns.

Author: Anushka Taraniya

News writer, MIT ADT University