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Supreme Court issues notice on PIL seeking stringent mechanism for sugarcane farmers

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice on a PIL, which had sought a strict price mechanism for clearing pending dues of sugarcane farmers.

The bench, led by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and also comprising Justice Surya Kant, said that there is already a judgement of Allahabad High Court on this, however, taking into consideration that a strict price mechanism is needed for the whole country, the bench issued notice in the matter.

The plea sought timely payment of sugarcane produce to cane farmers as per law, in order to avoid accumulation of such dues and to prevent cane farmers from the vicious cycle, when a sugar mill is declared sick and their dues remain unpaid during the process of resolution or liquidation of sugar mills/factories, leading to deteriorating financial condition of cane farmers, violating their fundamental rights enshrined in Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.

“In a country like India, where agriculture is the primary source of livelihood for 58 percent of population, non-payment of dues to farmers causes grave prejudice to the fundamental right of livelihood under Article 21 of Constitution of India of the farmers and their families, who are completely dependent on the income generated through the agriculture process of cultivation of sugarcane,” the petition stated.

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The plea also highlighted that pending dues of cane growers is running into thousands of crores of rupees due to unreasonable delay in payment by sugar mills/factories, which is causing grave financial hardships to sugar cane growers, leading to serious social problems and causing social unrest, as the farmers have no other source of income and is becoming the cause of their taking the extreme step.

The plea added that because of non-payment of dues, the farmers are unable to meet even the basic needs of their families, including the right to life, food and education and eke out an existence with dignity.

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