Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram
File photo: Supreme Court of India. (Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
Kerala will move the Supreme Court against the new farm law in a couple of days, said state agriculture minister VS Sunil Kumar. He said since agriculture falls in the concurrent list, new law encroaches upon the rights of states and it was against the federal structure of the country.
Earlier, the state government had sought legal opinion and got the advice that its constitutional validity can be challenged in the apex court. “Agriculture falls into the state list as per the seventh schedule of the constitution. States were not consulted before bringing such legislation and farmers’ bodies were also kept in the dark. We feel this legislation will only benefit big corporate houses engaged in the sector,” said Kumar.
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The minister said the state will introduce an alternate mechanism, roping in agriculture co-operative societies and self-help groups in a big way. “Farmers are on the street for more than two weeks but their cries fall on deaf ears. The union government can’t go ahead like this, crushing farmers’ interests. Reeling under pandemic, now it brought in a fresh set of laws in the name of reforms,” he said.
But the BJP has criticised the decision saying it was a politically motivated move. “Kerala is not an agrarian state and it will be least affected. The state wants to score some political points. It is nothing but sheer drama,” said minister of state for external affairs V Muraleedharan.
As the first phase of local body election is being held on Tuesday, Kerala is not participating in the nationwide bandh called by various farmers’ outfits. Usually, in the state, such protests turn a forced shutdown but political parties arrived at a consensus to facilitate smooth electioneering this time.