The Punjab and Haryana High Court Thursday restrained the governments in Punjab and Haryana from recovering any fine from the farmers accused of stubble burning and ordered registration of public interest litigation (PIL) in the matter.
During the resumed hearing of a case filed by Bharti Kissan Union against imposition of fine and registration of FIRs against farmers for stubble burning, a single bench ordered the two state governments to not recover any such penalty till further orders.
“The direction has been passed to both Punjab and Haryana governments,” said Advocate Charanpal Singh Bagri, who is representing the farmers’ unions in the matter.
The Punjab government, in response to the plea, had told the bench that the penalty was being imposed in accordance with the National Green Tribunal-ordered ban on burning of the paddy straw.
The HC has earlier informed that besides the registration of cases against them, farmers were being penalised Rs 2500 to to Rs 15,000.
In the case, a 2012 judgment of the high court has also been placed before the bench in which a division bench had asked both Punjab and Haryana governments to “take proactive measures by providing solutions to farmers, which are affordable and readily available and thus save both the farming community as also the general public from the hazards ensuing the polluting activity of burning straw.”
A Delhi High Court judgment of 2015 has also formed the basis of the case in which the court has also issued certain guidelines in the matter.
“Despite this, coercive measures are being taken against the farmers. State government should instead come to the rescue of the farmers in view of the guidelines laid down by the courts in its various orders,” Bagri has said in the plea, adding that the NGT has no authority to order the imposition of penalty on the farmers.