SC restores dismissed PIL challenging validity of Centre's farm laws

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New Delhi, Nov 19 (PTI) The Supreme Court Thursday restored a PIL, which was dismissed earlier, challenging the constitutional validity of Centre's newly enacted three farm laws on a ground that Parliament lacked power to make legislations on the subject as 'agriculture' is a state subject in the Constitution.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde, on October 12, had issued a notice to the Centre on a batch of petitions against the three contentious farm laws and had sought its reply in four weeks.

However, it had dismissed the PIL filed by lawyer M L Sharma against these statutes by asking him to approach the High Court instead.

'We will restore and keep your matter for admission after two weeks,' the bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, said when Sharma claimed on Thursday that he couldn't argue his case on the last date of hearing.

In a hearing conducted via video conferencing, the lawyer sought restoration of his dismissed PIL by saying 'if I could not appear before the court and argue myself, then it amounts to non-appearance'.

The bench said it remembered as to what had transpired on the last date of hearing in the case.

'We had discussed it. The point on which we had dismissed it was that there was no cause of action,' the bench said.

Earlier, the top court had decided to hear pleas of RJD lawmaker from Rajya Sabha, Manoj Jha and DMK Rajya Sabha MP from Tamil Nadu, Tiruchi Siva, and one by Rakesh Vaishnav of Chhattisgarh Kisan Congress against the three laws -- Farmers' (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020.

These laws came into being from September 27 after President Ram Nath Kovind's assent.

These pleas have sought setting aside of these statutes on various grounds .

Sharma, in his PIL, has said that these laws are 'being contra to the Article 246 of the Constitution' as the agriculture falls in the State list unstead of Union List and hence, Parliament has no power to legislate on the subject.

'That the present petition is being filed to decide constitutional questions follow such as whether Parliament has constitutional power to make a law in the subject matter belong to state list,' the plea said The agriculture is placed at entry 14 of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, it said.

'Entry 14. “Agriculture, including agricultural education and research, protection against pests and prevention of plant diseases,' reads the entry 14. PTI ABA SJK MNL RKS RKS