Ahmedabad: Expressing concerns for the marginalised and small farmers in the country, the Chief Justice of India HL Dattu on Saturday said it would be "immensely helpful" for agricultural community if state governments could minimise acquiring and handing over farm land to corporates even as he stressed for "fair" compensation to agriculturists.
"Apart from the discussion on impact of climate change on farmers' community, the discussion can also think of how farmers can be helped by the party in power. In my opinion, the agriculture land being acquired by state governments for the purpose of handing it over to corporate sector, if it could be minimised it could help the agricultural community to a large extent," the CJI said while addressing a conference at Nirma University here today.
"Don't mistake me for saying this, why am I saying this is for the only reason that agriculturists depend on these land, it is their bread. Yes, you can take that because you are in the sovereign state, but when you take it, give him (farmer) not just a compensation but something more than a compensation," Justice Dattu added.
He was addressing the members of legal fraternity and students on the subject 'Strengthening Climate Justice Initiatives: Livelihood Challenges at Local Level with a Focus on Farmers.'
Judges of the Gujarat High Court and state minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasma were present on the occasion.
Listing cases of agriculture land acquisition that came before him, the CJI said, "As a Supreme Court judge when state government questions an order passed by a high court enhancing compensation for acquiring agriculture lands, I have the habit of looking into the eyes of such lawyers who appear for the state.
"The first question I ask him is ? look gentleman you have acquired their land, why should you be so finicky in giving a compensation that has been fixed by the high court. He looks at me, I look at him, and say.. No enough is enough. Why am I doing this is for the only purpose that farmers require their agricultural lands, it is their bread," the CJI said.
Further stressing his point, Justice Dattu said, "Please acquire after a appropriate payment and please give them fair compensation. This is one area I really want to tell the present minister (Bhupendrasinh Chudasma) to pass it on to his higher ups," he added.
The CJI said that small farmers suffer the most in a country like India.
"Small agriculturist suffers a lot because of drought situation in most parts of the country. Sometimes there is a total arid situation, sometimes heavy rainfall. I think it is that farmer who suffers the most because one he cannot grow anything, and second he cannot get the fruits of this. And in a situation like this (in) my opinion state government (need) to help the farmers," he said.
Justice Dattu also underlined the need to develop affordable and environmentally-sustainable irrigation solutions for farming community in the country.
"We need to develop irrigation solutions that are affordable, accessible and environmentally sustainable this will be crucial in outset of the consequences of increasingly unpredictable rain pattern," he added.