Open Petition to President of India under Article 86 for addressing farmer's agitation. By Hem Raj Jain
31 Dec 2020
The President of India
Sub- Open Petition for invoking Article 86 of the Constitution for sending message to Parliament in the interest of resolving ‘burning Farmer’s issue’
This is a noticeable fact by Your Excellency that against recently enacted three farm acts namely [Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020] and against two more issues namely [Electricity Bill and Air Quality Management Ordinance] many farmers all over India are agitating and are even carrying out sit-in around Delhi.
The on-going sit-in since November 26, 2020 by protesting farmers (who as per reports of prominent Indian media are above one hundred thousand in numbers) on the highways leading to Delhi in severe cold (i)- Has reportedly caused the unnecessary death of 45 farmers (ii)- Has been causing sufferings & gross human rights violations (including due to extremely inadequate facilities of latrines & urinals for these sitting-in farmers) of the people living in the areas where these sit-ins around Delhi are going (iii)- Will cause immense suffering & gross human rights violations of the millions of people of Delhi when these agitating farmers will enter Delhi in January 2021 [as the leaders of these agitating (sit-in) farmers are openly saying on prominent Indian media] if their demands are not accepted by the Government of India (GoI) (iv)- Is already causing threat of spreading the current corona-virus pandemic because no physical distancing etc is being observed by these agitating farmers.
This serious situation is highly like to continue because the talks between the GoI and Farmer’s leaders have again failed on December 30, 2020 on main issues of [withdrawing said three Farm Bills and laws about legally enforceable ‘Minimum Support Price’ (MSP)] and the future talks on January 4, 2021 are also not going to succeed due to hardening of position on both the sides on these main issues. Therefore Your Excellency ought to intervene for getting this crisis resolved (without harming the interest of the agitating farmers or of the other farmers and rest of the Indians which the GoI claims to protect through these newly enacted laws) by getting desired legislation through Parliament by sending message under Article 86 of the Constitution, as mentioned below: -
(1)- Article 86 of the Constitution reads as - “[Right of President to address and send messages to Houses.—(1) The President may address either House of Parliament or both Houses assembled together, and for that purpose require the attendance of members. (2) The President may send messages to either House of Parliament, whether with respect to a Bill then pending in Parliament or otherwise, and a House to which any message is so sent shall with all convenient dispatch consider any matter required by the message to be taken into consideration]”
(2)- The said two issues namely [Electricity Bill and Air Quality Management Ordinance] are now practically non-issues because (i)- Electricity Bill issue will come in the future hence presently it is a non-issue also because the GoI during September 30, 2020 talks has reportedly agreed to take back the electricity draft bill and (ii)- Regarding ‘parali’ (stubble) burning issue the agitating farmers have already said that they burn these stables because being small-land-holding poor farmers they can’t afford to purchase (or rent from far off distances) the machines to remove these stubbles. Hence if GoI can introduce some mechanism / facility where these farmers can get such machines on nominal / reasonable rent in the vicinity of their farms, then this problem will be solved. Even after this, if some farmers burn the stubbles, then a reasonable punishment (and not the absurdly high of Rs. 10 million and 5 years of imprisonment) can be included in law.
(3)- As far as the issues of withdrawing of said three farm laws and of legally enforceable MSP what is required is only a law to ensure MSP (instead of meaningless promised MSP) such that any private person or organization who purchases 23 items (listed for MSP or these can be even more) below MSP, should be reasonably punished (by way of fine & prison term)
(4)- It is a matter of common sense that even if said three farm laws are not withdrawn by the GoI and merely (i)- MSP is made legally enforceable law, as mentioned above and (ii)- Availability of stubble removing machines are ensured to farmers by GoI through suitable legislation, as mentioned above then all the genuine / reasonable demands of the farmers will be met and which will finish this on-going crisis / agitation in agriculture sector which is affecting the predominant majority of India.
(5)- It is a well known fact that farmers in many States are not getting MSP and merely by making said law for MSP will not ensure MSP to all the farmers especially to economically humble farmers (as is the case with ‘Minimum wages Act’ which does not ensure minimum wages to poor laborers as their employers / contractors get signature on minimum wages but gives less than that because such poor laborers are desperate to sale their labor). But law for MSP with punishment provision will take care of this problem to some extent and for the rest as the situation unfolds (after making MSP a legally enforceable right) the GoI in consultation with the representatives of the farmers can find a way out (even by talking about increasing the size of land holdings because the present meagre land holdings have rendered most of the farmers without any holding capacity hence are desperate to sale their produce)
Therefore, in view of the above Your Excellency is requested to Kindly send a message to Parliament by invoking Article 86 of the Constitution for considering two legislations about (i)- making MSP a legally enforceable law and (ii)- Ensuring the availability of stubble removing machines to farmers.
Regards, Yours truly
Hem Raj Jain
An Indian citizen, presently at - Shakopee, MN, USA