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 Agrees to look into other ramifications

While hearing a petition for waiving of agricultural loan repayments in case of natural calamities, the Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justices DY Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul on March 3 decided to take cognisance of the wider ramifications of the issue. The court also directed that the Union of India, the Reserve Bank of India and all the state governments and union territories, be added as respondents to the case.

The original petition by Citizens Resource & Action Initiative (CRANTI) pertained to the state of Gujarat only. The court said that the issue involved in this case was not only sensitive, but also of public interest at large. Hence all parties mentioned should be added to “assist this court to arrive at an effective determination in the matter.”

The chief justice on March 3 told the government counsel: “You should have schemes in place. Giving grants to the family of those committing suicide is not the remedy. If you pay the family you are not dealing with the issue.”

PS Narasimha, additional solicitor general for the centre submitted: “We have made schemes giving insurances and schemes to increase the income of the farmers. We are ensuring that farmers are not distraught, they will have a place to approach.”

Counsel Gonsalvis appearing for the petitioner submitted that the centre “has been giving promises but nothing has materialized.”

The court observed: “You should look at the price fixed for the crop. Farmers can only grow a crop. If there is a surplus that year then the price drops. You need to study it.”

The centre promised to discuss with concerned departments and come out with solutions within two weeks.

—By India Legal Bureau

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