Thoughts on economics and liberty

My agriculture reform article in TOI and comment by Kisaan Putra Andolan

I’m not engaging with India at the moment, being on a sabbatical + I wish to focus my time/ mind on some essential books and training material.

However, two things worth noting:

a) My fifth centrepiece article in TOI (and my sixth in all, since 2007): Get out of farmers’ way: In the end government interventions end up sustaining, not reducing, rural poverty

b) A comment made by Makarand Doijad here:

#Article_31B_of_the_Constitution – A Deathly Executioner.

A few hundred thousand of farmers have committed suicide in this country and in the state because they cannot afford agriculture. Even today, suicides are happening. They have not ceased to occur.

That’s why, I decided to read the book ‘Why should the anti-farmer laws be abolished?’ authored by Amar Habib, the pioneer of the Kisaanputra Aandolan movement, and I asked for the book and I read it.

After reading the said book, I studied the Constitution of India, debates in the Constituent Assembly when constitution was being framed, discussions at the time of first amendment to the Constitution and the cases related to this decided by the Supreme Court of India between 1951 and 2007.

This study revealed to me that on 18the June, 1951, in the name of abolition of the Zamindari, the interim government inserted the cruel and fraudulent Article 31B and Schedule IX in the constitution by First Constitutional Amendment.

At the time of this first amendment, the interim Prime Minister of the then interim government had clearly stated in provisional parliament that this Schedule IX and Article 31B were limited only to the 13 Acts related to zamindari abolition.

Proof: On May 29, 1951, after the Select Committee submitted its report on the First Amendment, Interim PM said, “It is not with any great satisfaction or pleasure that we have produced this long (13 acts) Schedule. We do not wish to add to it for two reasons.

One is that the Schedule consists of a particular (Zamindari abolition) type of legislation, generally speaking, and another type should not come in. Secondly, every single measure (act) included in this Schedule was carefully considered by our President and certified by him. If you go on adding at the last moment, it is not fair, I think, or just to this Parliament or to the country.”

Nehru’s reply was in response to some members who had given notice of amendments to add other laws to the Schedule.

This first amendment bill was presented to the provisional parliament by the interim Prime Minister himself. At that time there was also a law minister in the interim government. Actually the bill should have been tabled by him. So why did he not present it?

There is no terrible and atrocious provision like Article 31B in any other country in the world. This Article 31B directly violates the Constitutional provisions of Article 13 (2), 14, 19, 32, 60 and the oaths in Third Schedule.

13 (2) – The State shall not make any law which takes away or abridges the rights conferred by this Part and any law made in contravention of this clause shall, to the extent of the contravention, be void.

14. The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India. 19.1(a) to freedom of speech and expression;

21. Protection of life and personal liberty: No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law

32(1) The right to move the Supreme Court by appropriate proceedings for the enforcement of the rights conferred by this Part is guaranteed.

60-Oath or affirmation by the President- I, A B, do swear in the name of God / solemnly affirm that I will faithfully execute the office of President (or discharge the functions of the President) of India and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and the law and that I will devote myself to the service and well being of the people of India.

3rd Schedule – Forms of oaths: Ministers and MPs: I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established.

But the same draconian provision in the article 31B has nullified the fundamental right of the farmers to seek justice in a court of law. Since 1951 up to the end of the year 1995, Congress governments added near about 250 anti-farmers laws in Schedule IX, which was meant as they said earlier, for only 13 laws related to abolition of zamindari, which is wholly unjustified.

Essential Commodities Act, Agricultural Land Ceiling Act, Land Acquisition Act proved deadly assaults on the common farmers. What is the relation of these laws with abolition of Zamindari? Why were the common farmers looted in the name of Zamindari abolition? Will Congress answer this? Is this not the hypocrisy of the Congress and the then interim government?

Provision is made in Article 31B that the Acts placed in Schedule IX cannot be challenged in court of law. This is a blatant violation of Article 32. The then President Dr.Rajendra Prasad also expressed his reservations about the amendment, citing the oath taken by him (Article 60), and opposed the changes. But the interim Prime Minister was not listening to anyone.

Those who were somewhat held in awe by the interim PM, Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had died. And thus after the country’s independence, before the country’s first general elections (1952) were held, the interim prime minister became an uncrowned emperor of Indian democracy.

Member of the provisional parliament, G Durgabai, H.N. Kunzru, Shyamaprasad Mukherjee, Hukum Singh, K.T. Shah, Najiruddin Ahmed had opposed the amendment. In spite of the opposition of these members, the interim prime minister brought in Art.31B and thus he violated Article 32 of the Constitution which is the lifeblood of the Constitution. And Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar himself said in the Constituent Assembly that Article 32 of the Constitution is the heart and soul of the Constitution.

Proof: Dr. Ambedkar on 9the December 1948, on debate of Article 25 of the Draft Constitution (Now Article 32) in the Constituent Assembly made a profound statement to the following effect:
“Now, Sir, I am very glad that the majority of those who spoke on this Article have realised the importance and the significance of this article. If I was asked to name any particular article in this Constitution as the most important – an article without which this Constitution would be a nullity – I could not refer to any other article except this one. It is the very soul of the Constitution and the very heart of it and I am glad that the House has realized its importance.”

That is why it needs to be asked with deep anguish that as the interim Prime Minister has killed the Constitution, how can the farmers of the country survive? There is an urgent need to repeal the criminal, cruel and fraudulent Article 31B to end farmer suicides and free the farmers from bondage. There is no other alternative. Hence we have filed a petition in the Supreme Court.

*Makarand Doijad*
Kisanputra movement



“Anti-Farmer” Laws Blamed For Agrarian Crisis In Petition In Supreme Court

Maharashtra farmers challenge Article 31B of Constitution to overcome agrarian crisis

AMAR HABIB : किसानपुत्र आंदोलन

As you can well imagine I support Kisan Putra movement IN EVERY WAY.

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Sanjeev Sabhlok

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