Farmer suicides: Karnataka HC poser to govt. on relief

The High Court of Karnataka on Tuesday directed the State Chief Secretary to make the government’s stand clear on why the compensation payable to the family of farmers who committed suicide was not extended to those farmers who borrowed money from private individual moneylenders.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice S. Vishwajith Shetty issued the direction after noticing from the report, submitted by the government on compensation paid to the families of farmers who ended their life in Shahpur taluk of Yadgir district, that compensation was paid to family of those farmers who had availed of loans from banks and other financial institutions.

The government’s report said that of the 125 farmers who committed suicide between 2016 and 2020 in Shahpur taluk, family members of 20 farmers were not eligible to receive compensation as they had borrowed money from private moneylenders.

The Bench observed that prima facie the policy of the government appears to be discriminatory in nature as the government had categorised farmers based on the source from where they had borrowed money though the object of paying compensation to the family members of farmer appear to be the cause, which is the debt, for committing suicide

Also, the Bench asked the Chief Secretary to explain why the farmers were forced to go to private individual moneylenders instead of approaching banks and other financial institutions.

The directions were issued during hearing a PIL petition filed in 2019 by Akhanda Karnataka Raitha Sangha, Yadgir district. The petitioner had complained that many farmers in Shahpur taluk were denied of benefits under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojanafor crop loss though they had paid the premium.

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