States must fight Central farm laws in Supreme Court: Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh

Farmers raise slogans during a protest over the farm reform bills, near Amritsar. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

A day after its leaders participated in a walkout and demonstration at Krishi Bhavan, the Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh (RKM) is taking the fight to State capitals.

The umbrella body for more than 180 farmers groups across the country has written to the Chief Ministers of all States, demanding that they fight the controversial farm market reform laws in the Supreme Court on the grounds that the Centre has usurped States’ rights to make laws on agricultural issues. They also want all States to bring out their own legislation providing a legal guarantee to Minimum Support Price (MSP).

“State governments are limiting themselves to making statements only. They are not taking concrete steps against these laws,” said RKM spokesperson Abhimanyu Kohar. “They need to step up and take responsibility. If they do not take concrete legal steps soon, then we will oppose them also, just as we have been opposing the Central government.”

The letter lays out the legal argument for questioning the Constitutional validity of the three laws passed by Parliament last month. “Agriculture being a State subject under the Constitution, any Central legislation seeking to remove barriers to trade and creating a unified national market for farm produce has the capacity to start a fresh debate on federalism. Union of India lacks legislative power to bring such an enactment and in the garb of reforms, have pushed forth an ill-thought-out piece of legislation,” says the letter.

Accusing the Centre of “trespassing” on a State subject, the letter argues that the new legislation could prevent State governments from bringing out marketing schemes to aid their own farmers, and urged States to approach the apex court.

The RKM also urged States to fix MSP themselves and enact new laws which ban sale, purchase or contract of farm produce below MSP rates, including by corporates and private buyers.

Among others, the letter is signed by RKM national convenor Shiv Kumar Sharma, better known as “Kakkaji”, who has previously been associated with the Sangh Parivar, but who led the 2017 farm protests in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh when police shot dead six farmers, sparking off a nationwide agitation. Another signatory is Bharatiya Kisan Union-Ekta’s Jagjeet Singh Dallewal, who is a key player in the ongoing protests and rail blockade in Punjab, and was a member of the delegation who walked out on the meeting with Union Agriculture Secretary on Wednesday.

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Printable version | Nov 26, 2020 6:30:24 PM |

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