MUMBAI(ANI/PTI): The Supreme Court on Friday imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 on Centre for failing to clear its stand on the issue of revisiting the National Policy for Farmers, 2007.
A social justice bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and UU Lalit slapped the cost while refusing to accept the contention of Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, who appeared for Centre, that affidavit could not be filed due to vacations. The bench then posted the matter for hearing on January 15.
Earlier, the apex court had sought the government’s response on revisiting its eight-year-old policy on farmers, saying that the suicides may be linked to certain inherent deficiencies in it. On Centre’s claim that number of suicide incidents have reduced, the bench had remarked, “Decrease in number (of suicides) is not enough, there should be no case of farmer suicide in the country. The court had also questioned the holding of annual meetings of the committee, headed by renowned agricultural scientist M S Swaminathan, to discuss the problems faced by farmers and said such brain-storming sessions should be held more frequently.
The bench, which was hearing a PIL seeking government to take steps to prevent farmer suicides, had asked the Centre to file an affidavit within six weeks clearing its stand on revisiting the policy. The PIL by Punjab-based NGO Youth Kamal Organization, through its President G S Happy Mann, had stated that there was a high distress level in the agriculture sector.
It had said that farmers were forced to buy seeds every planting season, which increased poverty and indebtedness compelling them to commit suicide. The NGO had also told court that in June 2014 that the Ministry had said it has started implementing the recommendations of the National Commission on Farmers, but so far nothing has been done for the benefit of farmers.