Tamil Nadu govt can not remain silent on farmers' suicide: SC
Holding that a government cannot be allowed to be insensitive towards the plight of the drought-hit farmers who commit suicide, the Supreme Court said the state must take necessary steps to grant relief to them.
A bench of Justices Dipak Misra, A M Khanwilkar and M M Shantagoudar pulled up the Tamil Nadu government for its failure to come to the rescue of the farmers who are suffering due to famine in the state and sought explanation on steps taken by it to address the agrarian problem.
"The state stands on the position of a loco parentis to the citizens and when there are so many deaths of farmers in the state of Tamil Nadu, it becomes obligatory on the part of the state to express concern and sensitiveness to do the needful and not allow the impecunious and poverty stricken farmers to resign to their fate or leave the downtrodden and the poor to yield to the idea of fatalism," the bench said.
"The concept is alien in the welfare state and social justice which is required to be translated into a democratic body polity. As is manifested from the assertions and the grievances, deaths are due to famine and other natural causes and also due to immense financial problem.
"The state, as the guardian, is required to see how to solve these problems or to meet the problems by taking curative measures treating it as a natural disaster. Silence is not the answer," it said.
The court passed the order on a plea filed by Tamil Nadu-based NGO seeking court's direction to the state government to provide relief to farmers. It approached the apex court after the Madras HC had refused to entertain its plea.
Agreeing to entertain the plea, the bench said, "The petition depicts a picture which has the potential to disturb the conscience of any sensitive soul, for it relates to deaths of farmers, which has its significance in a society where agriculture is of paramount importance and most of the farmers exclusively depend upon the same for their sustenance".
"On a perusal of the order passed by the High Court, we find that it has really not touched the issue that was required to be appositely dealt with.
On a perusal of the petition and the averments made, we notice that the petitioner has suggested certain aspects by which the conditions of the farmers can be ameliorated," it said