Legal Current Affairs

Summary of latest bill and acts passed or pending in 2019 in Parliament of India with their salient features and issues for Current Affairs 2019 preparation for various examinations such as UPSC, SSC, State Civil Services, CLAT, Judicial Services etc.

Union Cabinet approves farmer friendly Essential Commodities Act

On June 3, 2020, the Union Cabinet chaired by PM Modi has made historic amendments to Essential Commodities Act. Under the amendment, the regulatory environment has been liberalized for farmers.

The Farmers Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020:

The amendment has been made through this ordinance. The ordinance will allow farmers to engage with aggregators, processors, exporters and large retailers as well. Under the amendment to Essential Commodities Act, 1955, the agricultural commodities such as pulses, cereals, onions oil seeds and potatoes have been deregulated.

Also, the amendment will allow clamping of stock limits only under very extreme circumstances. This includes famines and natural calamities. The stock limit is not applicable to processors and value chain participants. They shall stock only to their installed capacity. This will help in better price realization.

Background

The Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman had earlier announced under Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan that a central law would be formulated that will not bind farmers to sell their crops. The minister also announced that the law will not bind the farmers to sell their produce only to licensed traders in the Agricultural Produce Market Committee mandis.

Supreme Court’s suo motu cognisance of Migrant Workers’ plight

On May 26, 2020, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court took suo motu cognisance of migrant workers issue and noted that there have been “inadequacies and certain lapses” on the part of the Central and State governments in dealing with the migrant workers crisis during the lockdown.

What is suo moto cognisance?

Suo motu is a latin phrase which means “on its own”. This means that the court has taken the matter into cognisance on its own and without any plaintiff. A plaintiff is a person or entity which files a case or petition in the court. Normal court cases need a plaintiff and a defendant, while in suo moto, there is no plaintiff.

In the current matter, the court has taken suo motu cognisance on the basis of newspaper and media reports on helpless migrants forced to travel thousands of miles on foot or cycles.

Supreme Court Directions

The three judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan has ordered the centre and states to immediately provide transport, food and shelter free of cost to the stranded migrant workers. The court has also asked Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta to inform the court by May 28, 2020 about the measures taken by the Centre to alleviate the migrants’ sufferings.

What is next?

The court has issued formal notice to the centre, states and Union Territories to file their responses by May 28.