Hyderabad High Court seeks data on farmer suicides

It also asked the govt to submit reports explaining the steps being taken to prevent farmer suicides.

Hyderabad: The Hyderabad High Court on Monday asked the TS and AP governments to submit reports explaining the steps being taken to prevent farmer suicides, along with details of farmers who ended their lives in December last year and January 2016. A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Dilip B. Bhosale and Justice P. Naveen Rao was dealing with PILs filed separately by Vyavasaya Jana Chaitanya Samithi, Pakala Srihari Rao and others challenging the inaction of the state governments in preventing farmer suicides.

The bench asked counsels for both states whether there was any decrease in farmer suicides after the petitions were filed, and measures taken by the governments. TS special counsel S. Sharath Kumar said there was considerable decrease in suicides in the state, and that he would provide the proof in this regard. Counsels the for petitioners took exception to this and said several farmers had committed suicide due to the pressure from private moneylenders. They said farmers had to turn to private money lenders as nationalised banks had refused to re-schedule their crop loans.

The bench sought to know steps taken by the TS government to create awareness among farmers against borrowing money from private lenders. Mr Kumar said the government had appointed special officers to ask farmers not take loans from private lenders as they not only charge high rates of interest but also harass them for repayment. When the bench pointed out that farmers were committing suicide over loans taken for farming activity, B. Rachana Reddy, counsel appearing for Prof. Kodandaram, said that though they had borrowed for education and marriage of their children, money for repayment came from agriculture.

The bench asked counsel to file an affidavit with regard to cases of farmers who committed suicide due to harassment by private lenders. The court also asked counsels of both states to cite at least five cases of farmers committing suicide due to harassment by private lenders. AP government counsel said the state had appointed a committee in 2014 to study the cases of farmer suicides and suggest measures to prevent them. He sought time to file details. The bench adjourned the hearing for three weeks.

Follow ‘Delhi model’ on animal cruelty: HC

The Hyderabad High Court on Monday asked the governments of AP and TS to follow a circular issued by the Delhi government to public prosecutors and assistant public prosecutors for dealing with cases of vehicles seized while transporting animals without taking proper safety measures. A bench was dealing with a plea by Animal Rescue Organisation, represented by S. Gopal and another, alleging that the cattle were being ill-treated while being loaded into transport vehicles by being packed beyond permissible limits at Pithapuram Shandy in East Godavari district.

Counsel for the petitioner said that lower courts have been casually granting release orders for overloaded vehicles seized while transporting animals. He placed a copy of a memo issued by the Delhi government. After perusing the memo, the bench said it was a good step to prevent animal cruelty and asked both the states to follow the model. The bench reserved orders saying that subordinate courts would be directed not to causally grant release or bail in such cases.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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