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The Ordinance is primarily being seen as an attempt to dismantle the monopoly of the APMC mandis in wholesale trading of farming commodities, particularly in opposition-ruled states.
The Chhattisgarh High Court has issued notice in a plea challenging the constitutional validity of the recently promulgated Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020.
The Ordinance has been challenged on the grounds that it “fails the test of constitutionality and is in violation of Article 246, 23 and 14 of the Constitution.”
Notice has been issued by a Division Bench of Chief Justice PR Ramachandra Menon and Justice Parth Prateem Sahu.
The petition by the Chhattisgarh Kisan Congress (the farmer's wing of Indian National Congress in Chhattisgarh) filed through Advocate Aman Saxena challenges the vires of the Ordinance on the contention that the “pith and substance of the impugned ordinance is regulating intrastate agriculture and hence it is repugnant to the State Act."
The Ordinance under challenge was promulgated by the President of India under Article 123 of the Constitution. It seeks to supplant the State Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Acts of all states, and particularly the Chhattisgarh Krishi Upaj Mandi Adhiniyam, 1972 and its by-laws.
The petitioners have contended that agriculture is a subject under Entry 14 of List II of the Constitution, over which states have the exclusive power to make laws on, by virtue of Article 246(3).
Agriculture being a State subject under the Constitution, any Central legislation seeking to remove barriers to trade and creating a unified national market for farm produce has the capacity to start a fresh debate on federalism.
The plea goes on to state,
Plea filed in Chhattisgarh High Court