Written by: Shivangi Arora (Intern)
Edited by: Anubhav Yadav (Content Head & Developer)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 19, in his address to the nation, announced the decision of the central government to repeal the Three Farm Laws introduced a year ago. His assurance to the farmers was fulfilled after both the houses of Parliament passed the Farm Laws Repeal Bill, 2021 at the ongoing Winter Session of the Parliament on 29th November 2020.
The three Farm Laws comprised of – the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance, Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. In June 2020, when the Parliament was in recess Government using the prerogative of Article 123 (Power of President to promulgate Ordinances during the recess of the Parliament) introduced the Farm Laws. They were later tabled by the Central Government as bills for ratification to which the Lok Sabha approved on 17th September 2020 and the same was passed by Rajya Sabha on 20th September 2020. The President of India Ramnath Kovind gave his assent to the Bill on 27th September 2020. This inspired nationwide protest from the farmer groups and it gradually gained momentum. The Farmer community was protesting to appeal to the Government to roll back the Farm Laws. Further, the State Assemblies of Punjab, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh tabled bills to counter and amend the implementation of the Central Farm Acts. On 12 January 2021, the Supreme Court stayed the implementation of the farm laws. The Apex Court appointed a committee to look into the grievances related to the farm laws. Though the Farm Laws were on hold by the court the matter of the fact remains that they received the Presidential Assent after being passed by both the Houses of Parliament and thus are needed to be repealed through a proper constitutional mechanism by Parliament alone.
PROCESS TO REPEAL FARM ACTS
Repeal means to “revoke, abrogate, or cancel particularly a statute,” A statute is generally repealed for two reasons, namely – when it has served its purpose or to rectify inconsistencies in it. The Statute could be nullified as a whole, some provisions of it or to the extent to which it contradicts with the other laws. Laws can be repealed in two ways — either through an ordinance or through legislation.
In case an ordinance is used, it would need to be replaced by a law passed by Parliament within six months. If the ordinance lapses because it is not approved by Parliament, the repealed law can be revived.
The other is through Legislation. Article 245 of the Indian Constitution empowers the Parliament of India to frame laws for the country. It states “245. The extent of laws made by Parliament and by the Legislatures of States
(1) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, Parliament may make laws for the whole or any part of the territory of India, and the Legislature of a State may make laws for the whole or any part of the State
(2) No law made by Parliament shall be deemed to be invalid on the ground that it would have extra-territorial operation.”
The power of Parliament to repeal the law is derived from the very provision. A law could be repealed by introducing Bill for repealing the same. Usually, bills titled Repealing or Amendment are used for this purpose. The bill should be ratified by both the Houses of the Parliament with a similar majority by which the original statute was passed. It must also receive the assent of the President to become operative. After receiving the presidential assent, the ceases to operate.
To repeal the three contentious farm laws, “The Farm Laws Repeal Bill 2021” was inducted in the Parliament by Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar which was subsequently passed by the Parliament. All three Farm Laws are being repealed through single bill. The assent of the President to the Bill is still pending.