Notice to State, Centre on petition seeking MSP for all agricultural crops

The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday ordered issue of notice to the State and Union governments on a public interest litigation (PIL) petition seeking directions for fixing minimum support price (MSP) for all agricultural crops and also for setting up agriculture price commission.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikaramjit and Justice B.V. Nagarathna passed the order on the petition filed by H.T. Huchchappa, a farmer from Hassan. The petitioner pointed out that MSP had been fixed only for turmeric and copra.

The petitioner also pointed out that the government spends more than Rs. 6,000 crore a year to irrigate areas under various projects. However, no such financial allocation had been made for dryland areas or rainfed areas he said, and pointed out that the number of farmers in dryland areas was more compared to irrigated areas.

Pointing out that Karnataka stood third in the country in terms of number of farmers’ suicide, the petitioner said various short-term and long-term measures, including fixing of MSP, were essential to protect farmers from committing suicide.

The Bench adjourned further hearing to November 5.

Flag issue

The Bench gave last opportunity for the State government to take a decision on withdrawing the circular issued to various authorities to hoist red-yellow flag on the Rajyotsava Day (November 1).

The government has been saying since April this year that the circular, issued based on the announcement made by the then Chief Minister in the budge earlier this year, would be withdrawn and the Cabinet would soon withdraw its earlier proposal to hoist the flag on November 1 this year.

Even on Tuesday, the government counsel submitted that the Cabinet was yet to withdraw it earlier decision. Following this, the Bench said that a decision would have to be taken by October 31. The Bench was hearing a PIL petition complaining about the “misuse” of this flag by Karnataka Rakshana Vedike and other organisations. During earlier hearing, the government had accepted before the court that this flag had not been given the status of “State flag” in view of the National Flag Code.