The Supreme Court on Monday said it was not in its power to stop debt-ridden farmers from committing suicide but that it was willing to issue some general instructions to ensure better conditions for them. “We cannot stop suicides, but we can issue general instructions for remedial measures to prevent farmers from committing suicides in large numbers,” a Bench led by Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan observed. The Court was hearing a 2006 PIL filed by advocate Sanjeev Bhatnagar questioning the country’s agricultural policy in view of a spate of farmer suicides.
Bhatnagar, who is also an agricultural economist, quoting government reports on Monday said that 87,567 farmers had killed themselves between 2002-08.
The Bench said the government has to work on some “special package” like the one presented by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2006. It said, “We have to find out the reasons which are driving the farmers to suicide. The problem is confined to some states.” The government counsel has assured the court of putting the Bench’s views before the Agriculture Secretary.