Free Press Journal

SC not impressed by Centre’s claim of drop in farmer suicides


New Delhi: Government’s claim of a “considerable” drop in farmers’ suicides in the country did not impress the Supreme Court which today said there should be no such cases at all. The apex court also sought the government’s response on revisiting its eight-year-old policy on farmers. “Decrease in number (of suicides) is not enough, there should be no case of farmer suicide in the country,” Social Justice Bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and U U Lalit said.

When Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand told the court that there was a “considerable decline in unfortunate incidents” of farmers’ suicides, the bench said such incidents should not happen at all. The court further indicated that the suicides may be linked to certain inherent deficiencies in the National Policy for Farmers, 2007, which may be revisited. It also questioned the holding of yearly meetings of the committee, headed by renowned agricultural scientist M S Swaminathanl, to discuss the problems faced by farmers and said such brain-storming sessions should be held more frequently.

The bench, which was hearing a PIL seeking government to take steps to prevent farmer suicides, asked the Centre to file an affidavit within six weeks clearing its stand on revisiting the policy.

“May be because of the policy, the farmers are committing suicide. You (Centre) file an affidavit within six weeks stating whether it is necessary to revisit the policy which is eight years old,” it said.

In March this year, the Ministry of Agriculture had filed an affidavit stating that the number of suicide deaths of farmers have declined since 2009 and there were factors other than agrarian which led them to take their lives.