New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday said that there should not be any case of farmers suicide on account of financial distress rooted to their agricultural activities as it described “not enough” the government claim of “considerable decline” in suicide cases. “Decrease in number of suicides is not enough, there should be no case of farmer suicide in the country,” observed the social justice bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit as it pointed to the need to re-examine the National Policy for Farmers, 2007, saying that it may have some inherent deficiencies.
The court observation came in the course of the hearing of a PIL by a Punjab-based NGO Youth Kamal Organisation highlighting the increasing number of suicides by farmers in different parts of the country on account of their difficult financial conditions. The NGO has sought the implementation of Dr. M.S. Swaminathan Committee’s recommendations on the farming sector. The central government in its reply to the PIL by the NGO had said that farmers suicides were not due to agrarian reasons alone but also for factors like “family problems, illness, drug abuse/addiction, unemployment, property dispute, professional/career problems, love affairs, barrenness/impotency, cancellation/non-settlement of marriage, dowry dispute, fall in social reputation and other factors”.
Giving six weeks to the central government to inform the court whether it was inclined to re-examine the 2007 policy, the court was remained unimpressed as Additional Solicitor General Pinki Anand told it that there was a considerable decline in “unfortunate” suicide by the farmers. The court also had its misgivings about the efficacy of the annual meetings of the committee headed by the eminent agricultural scientist Swaminathan that goes into the issues relating to the farmers and felt that these meetings, instead of a being once a year affair, should take place more frequently.