New Delhi: It is a reality that low compensation paid to calamity-hit farmers was leading some of them to commit suicide, the Supreme Court observed.
"This is a reality. It needs to be corrected. It's not against one government or other government. The central government always says they are doing good things but some people are committing suicide, we all know that," a bench headed by Justice M B Lokur said.
The bench, also comprising Justice N V Ramana, made the observation while examining various aspects of relief given to drought-hit farmers during the hearing on a PIL which seeks urgent implementation of guidelines for areas hit by natural calamity.
Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, who refuted the allegations on behalf of the Centre, said there was no "arbitrariness" in deciding compensation for crop losses.
"There is no arbitrariness and the Centre has framed guidelines for distribution of compensation to the drought-hit farmers," she said.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan appearing for petitioner NGO Swaraj Abhiyan alleged arbitrariness on the part of the patwaris (officials who maintain land records) in calculating the compensation for the crop loss.
Psephologist and political activist Yogendra Yadav, a key functionary of the NGO, informed the court that there are instances where two brothers having adjoining land with same dimensions and having suffered similar crop loss due to a natural calamity, getting differential compensation.
While one brother gets Rs 16,000 as compensation, the other gets a meager Rs 160 for the same kind of loss, he claimed.
The recently-launched flagship scheme of the NDA government 'Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana' also came up for discussion, with the bench asking the petitioner whether it could be relevant in such a situation and whether it could be beneficial to the farmers hit by drought.
Bhushan said in Chhattisgarh, a similar scheme was launched but alleged that it appeared to him as a big scam as farmers were not given the benefit....