Kerala govt to move Supreme Court against Centre’s new farm bills

Plans special assembly session to pass a unanimous resolution against the bills

pinarayi-assembly Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan | Onmanorama

The Kerala government has decided to approach the Supreme Court against the controversial Farm Bill, 2020, on the grounds that it is a violation of constitutional rights. A decision in this regard was taken by the LDF government during Wednesday's cabinet meeting.

The move has come at a time when the opposition parties are planning a nation-wide protest against the farm bills. "Agriculture is a state subject. The new bill is a gross violation of this," an official at the Chief Minister's Office told The WEEK.

According to him, the decision has been taken after receiving legal opinion pointing out the constitutional violations. 

Apart from the questionable legal angle, the Centre has been at the receiving end for the bills that are going against farmer interests. Many political parties have been vehemently opposing it inside and outside Parliament.

The Pinarayi Vijayan government is also planning to hold a special assembly session to pass a unanimous resolution against the bills with the support of the Congress-led opposition of Kerala. "As all the parties in the LDF and the Congress-led UDF are opposing the bill, it will be prudent to do so," added the official.

The state government's decision is certainly seen as a political move as agitations against the bill are flaring up across the country. Kerala MPs belonging to both the LDF and the UDF had staged a walk out from Parliament over the issue.

The BJP government at the Centre, however, has been maintaining that the bills will not override Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Acts of the states. On the contrary, it would promote a barrier-free, inter-state and intra-state trade and commerce outside the physical premises of markets notified under the State Agricultural Produce Marketing legislations, the Union government had argued.

It is not for the first time that the state government has chosen to be on a warpath against the Central government. Earlier, it was in the case of the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA). Kerala had then filed a case arguing that CAA violates right to equality under Article 14 of the Constitution of India, right to life under Article 21 and freedom to practice religion under Article 25.

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