Even as farmer unions and opposition leaders held nationwide protests against the newly enacted agricultural law, a Congress MP from Kerala moved the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of various provisions of the contentious new farm Act.
TN Prathapan, who represents Thrissur Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala, has alleged that the Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 is violative of Article 14 (right to equality), 15 (prohibition of discrimination) and 21 (right to life and liberty) of the Constitution.
He said the law, which was accorded presidential assent on Sunday, is “liable to be struck down as unconstitutional, illegal and void”.
Meanwhile, the Centre on Monday came out with the latest data of paddy procurement in the last 48 hours, sending across a clear message that it has no intention of scrapping the MSP and that it has put in a mechanism for procurement of not only summer-sown paddy but also pulses and oilseeds this year.
Farmers in Punjab and Haryana and several other states are protesting against new farm laws which they feel will lead to procurement in the hands of corporates and the end of the MSP regime. The Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee continued their ‘rail roko’ agitation in Punjab for the fifth consecutive day and announced that the protest against the three farm bills will be extended till October 2.
“Our protest will continue till October 2. We want to appeal to farmers across the country to take part in protest against Modi government,” general secretary of the committee said. The protesters have been squatting on rail tracks since September 24 at Jalandhar, Amritsar, Tanda, Mukerian and Ferozepur.
Stepping up pressure, the Congress along with other opposition parties and farmers’ organisations held demonstrations against the new farm laws across the country on Monday, with some protesters torching a tractor at the India Gate in the heart of Lutyens’ Delhi.
The Congress invoked Bhagat Singh, whose birth anniversary was being celebrated today, during the protests, and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh took part in a sit-in at the ancestral village of the freedom fighter. The chief minister said his government would approach the Supreme Court over the farm laws and warned that Pakistan’s ISI could exploit the anger over the new legislations to foment trouble in the border state.
Protests were also held in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Telangana, Gujarat, Goa, Odisha and Tamil Nadu, where the DMK and its allies, including the Congress, hit the streets. DMK chief M K Stalin said his party was ready to challenge the new laws in court.