Centre’s affidavit in SC on farm laws misleading, contempt: Congress

AICC spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi cited “contradictions” in a related Right to Information (RTI) replies and questioned how the affidavit could refer to “consultations over the last two decades” on agriculture reforms as examples of “pre-leg...

PTI
New Delhi: Congress has questioned the veracity and credibility of the Centre’s affidavit filed before the Supreme Court on the pre-legislative consultations on the farm bills before they were enacted into laws. AICC spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi cited “contradictions” in a related Right to Information (RTI) replies and questioned how the affidavit could refer to “consultations over the last two decades” on agriculture reforms as examples of “pre-legislative consultations” on these particular contentious farm laws. He also asked how the Centre affidavit could cite the 2003 and 2017 draft Model APMC Acts, giving a choice to states (which most of them didn’t accept), as part of the pre-legislative consultation regarding the current contentious Acts.

“It (the affidavit) is a most serious attempt at prevarication, distortion, misinterpretation and misleading the nation. Indeed, it is contumacious conduct and amounted to contempt of the court,” Singhvi alleged at an official briefing. He cited two RTI replies in November, in response to activist Anjali Bhardawaj’s queries on details of the pre-legislative consultations on the farms laws, merely stating, “this CPIO does not hold any record in this matter”.

Yet, Singhvi pointed out the Centre’s affidavit while trying to argue there were detailed re-legislative consultations cited “setting up of the so-called Guru Committee in December 2000”; “the Model APMC Act in 2003 and Rules thereafter”; “the Report of Empowered Committee of some state ministers in 2013”; “the Working Group on agricultural production in 2010”; “the Draft Model Act of 2017 circulated to all states for adoption titled — The State Agricultural and Livestock Marketing (Facility and Development) Act, 2017” as examples of how the Centre consulted “actively and intensively with the states for about two decades to achieve objectives of reforms to provide accessible and barrier free market system for better price realization but states either showed reluctance to adopt the reforms in true spirit or made partial or semetic reforms”.


The affidavit, he quoted, further stated: “The above referred would show that there had been an elaborate consultative process and procurement of views of various programs by the farmers through the committee and no harried decision is taken.” Singhvi said: “It is clear the government attempted to fool the people of India. This is falsehood…Unfortunately they have not even spared the Supreme Court. It also establishes beyond doubt that there was no coherence with what the government said in the affidavit and what it did on the ground.”




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