On 26-11-2020, the #farmers from Punjab and Haryana started their movement against the three contentious #FarmLaws promulgated by the Centre. The ‘#DelhiChalo’ Protest or the ‘head towards #Delhi’ was organized where tens of thousands of farmers marched towards the National Capital. Despite heavy deployment of security personnel and use of water cannons and tear gas, the Haryana Police failed to stop the farmers from proceeding further. As a preventive step, the State of Haryana has imposed Section 144 CrPC to prevent protester’s assembly and has sealed all the major entry points along the #Punjab border. However, despite this, the protesting farmers, comprising of men and women, school and college students riding tractor-trailers, cars and two wheelers managed to enter the Haryana borders from Punjab. In wake of the protests, security has been stepped up in the National Capital and travel advisory has been issued by the Haryana Police Authority.
As per the Police reports, it is estimated that around 3,00,000 farmers from both the States are set to reach Delhi. The farmers are a part of the United Farmers Front, an all-India body comprising of nearly 470 farmers’ Unions and will be protesting indefinitely in the National Capital from 26-11- 2020.
The three Farms Bills i.e. ‘the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill; the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill; and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill which received the President’s assent on 27-09-2020 are being touted as “anti-farmer” bills. According to the Central Government, these Bills will be helpful for the small and marginal farmers as they will be able to sell produce outside mandis and will be able to enter into agreements with agri-business firms. The Government claims that these Acts will help to boost the Indian Agriculture sector and will attract private investment. The farmers will be able to take their produce anywhere inter-state or intra-state. The law also provides for provisions for contract farming i.e. the farmers and buyers will have an option to negotiate the price and reach an agreement before procuring the harvest. Further, under extraordinary circumstances, the Centre will be able to regulate or impose stock limits on the supply of certain food items.
Why the Protests?
However, heavy #criticisms and oppositions came from the Farm organisations like Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), big agricultural bodies like the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) and some section of farmers. They criticised these Acts on the grounds that the Bill help no one but the giant corporates, as the Contracts drafted by big Corporate Law firms with liability clauses will be unfavourable for the farmers and beyond their understanding and thus, will destroy their livelihoods.
The impact of these Protests will be a debating issue in the upcoming Winter Session of the Parliament. As per the reports, the Government will be meeting the Protesting Farmers on 03-12-2020 to discuss the new laws.
The Indian Lawyer & Allied Services