A 58-YEAR-OLD farmer from Karnal, Haryana, has moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking to quash an order of the deputy commissioner-cum-collector of Karnal barring entry of paddy into Haryana from Uttar Pradesh, terming it to be illegal and contrary to Provisions of the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020.
Hearing the petition of Virender Kumar, who has also sought directions to open the portal, ‘Meri Fasal Mera Byora’, for his registration, the bench of Justice Rajbir Sherawat asked the State to file reply and adjourned the matter for hearing on November 12.
Meanwhile, the petitioner, through his counsel — senior advocate Ashish Aggarwal and advocate Mukul Aggarwal — sought to implead the Union of India and Union Territory, Chandigarh, as well as, the state of Punjab, as parties to the petition, as the question involved in the case is not restricted to Haryana.
It has been contended by the petitioner’s counsel before HC that he and his family, being involved in farming from past several years, in July 2020, have sown A Grade – Super 5 variety of paddy on about 75 acres of land, owned by them, Chillaur village, Jansat tehsil, Muzaffarnagar district (Uttar Pradesh).
The counsel submitted that with an intent and object for creating an ecosystem where farmers and traders enjoy the freedom of choice relating to sale and purchase of farmer’s produce, the central government enacted an Act, namely the Provisions of the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, which received the assent of the President on September 24, 2020, and was published in the Gazette of India on September 27, 2020. It was made operative with effect from June 5, 2020, and Section 14 of the Act of 2020 specifically provides that the said Act would have an overriding effect on all other laws, which are inconsistent with it, also Section 3 of the aforesaid Act provides absolute freedom to farmers and traders to carry on inter-state or intra-state trade and commerce in farmers’ produce. Thus for the sale of crops of farmers whose farms are situated outside Haryana, the State made prior registration of such farmers compulsory, on its online portal, namely ‘Meri Fasal Mera Byora’.
The petitioner further submitted that all of a sudden, the state abruptly closed down the aforesaid portal ‘Meri Fasal Mera Byora’. Not only this, the Karnal deputy commissioner, in derogation of the mandate of the Act of 2020, through its order passed on September 23, 2020, debarred the entry of paddy into Haryana from Uttar Pradesh, which is wholly unsustainable and is in fact illegal, in the face of the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020. Thus it has been sought that the order of DC directing duty officers/duty magistrates and the police to stop any farmers coming into Karnal district from U.P., with their agricultural produce, is liable to be immediately quashed.
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