Agriculture

Mechanism for dispute resolution under Farmers Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act 2020

Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020

Farmer” means an individual engaged in the production of farming produce by self or by hired labour or otherwise, and includes the Farmer Producer Organisation;

“Sponsor” means a person who has entered into a farming agreement with the farmer to purchase a farming produce;

Farming Agreement  and Conciliation

Model Farming Agreement – Banana produce

Sec 13. Conciliation board for dispute settlement

(1) Every farming agreement shall explicitly provide for a conciliation process and formation of a conciliation board consisting of representatives of parties to the agreement:

Provided that representation of parties in such conciliation board shall be fair and balanced.

(2) A dispute arising from any farming agreement shall be first referred to the conciliation board formed as per the provisions of the farming agreement and every endeavour shall be made by such board to bring about settlement of such dispute.

(3) Where, in respect of any dispute, a settlement is arrived during the course of conciliation proceeding, a memorandum of settlement shall be drawn accordingly and signed by the parties to such dispute and such settlement shall be binding on the parties.


“Farming agreement” means a written agreement entered into between a farmer and a Sponsor, or a farmer, a Sponsor and any third party, prior to the production or rearing of any farming produce of a predetermined quality, in which the Sponsor agrees to purchase such farming produce from the farmer and to provide farm services.

Explanation. – For the purposes of this clause, the term “farming agreement” may include-

(i) “trade and commerce agreement”, where the ownership of commodity remains with the farmer during production and he gets the price of produce on its delivery as per the agreed terms with the Sponsor;

(ii) “production agreement”, where the Sponsor agrees to provide farm services, either fully or partially and to bear the risk of output, but agrees to make payment to the farmer for the services rendered by such farmer; and

(iii) such other agreements or a combination of agreements specified above;


Mechanism for dispute resolution- sec 14

(1) Where, the farming agreement does not provide for conciliation process as required under sub-section (1) of section 13, or the parties to the farming agreement fail to settle their dispute under that section within a period of thirty days, then, any such party may approach the concerned Sub-Divisional Magistrate who shall be the Sub-Divisional Authority for deciding the disputes under farming agreements.

(2) On receipt of a dispute under sub-section (1), the Sub-Divisional Authority may, if-

(a) the farming agreement did not provide for conciliation process, constitute a conciliation board for bringing about settlement of such dispute; or

(b) the parties failed to settle their dispute through conciliation process, decide the dispute in a summary manner within thirty days from the date of receipt of such dispute, after giving the parties a reasonable opportunity of being heard and pass an order for recovery of the amount under dispute, with such penalty and interest, as it deems fit, subject to the following conditions, namely:-

(i) where the Sponsor fails to make payment of the amount due to the farmer, such penalty may extend to one and half times the amount due;

(ii) where the order is against the farmer for recovery of the amount due to the Sponsor on account of any advance payment or cost of inputs, as per terms of farming agreement, such amount shall not exceed the actual cost incurred by the Sponsor;

(iii) where the farming agreement in dispute is in contravention of the provisions of this Act, or default by the farmer is due to force majeure, then, no order for recovery of amount shall be passed against the farmer.

(3) Every order passed by the Sub-Divisional Authority under this section shall have same force as a decree of a civil court and be enforceable in the same manner as that of a decree under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908), unless an appeal is preferred under sub-section (4).

(4) Any party aggrieved by the order of the Sub-Divisional Authority may prefer an appeal to the Appellate Authority, which shall be presided over by the Collector or Additional Collector nominated by the Collector, within thirty days from the date of such order.

(5) The Appellate Authority shall dispose of the appeal within thirty days.

(6) Every order passed by the Appellant Authority under this section shall have same force as a decree of a civil court and be enforceable in the same manner as that of a decree under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908).

(7) The amount payable under any order passed by the Sub-Divisional Authority or the Appellant Authority, as the case may be, may be recovered as arrears of land revenue.

(8) The Sub-Divisional Authority or the Appellate Authority shall, while deciding disputes under this section, have all the powers of a civil court for the purposes of taking evidence on oath, enforcing the attendance of witnesses, compelling the discovery and production of documents and material objects and for such other purposes as may be prescribed by the Central Government.

(9) The manner and procedure for filing a petition or an application before the Sub-Divisional Authority and an appeal before the Appellate Authority shall be such as may be prescribed by the Central Government.

Farmers’ Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services (Dispute Resolution) Rules, 2020

Local Jurisdiction of Sub-divisional Authority

If any dispute arises under a farming agreement in respect of any farming produce, the Sub-divisional Magistrate having jurisdiction over the land on which such produce is produced or intended to be produced, shall be the Sub-divisional Authority to decide such dispute:

Provided that where more than one Sub-divisional Magistrates have jurisdiction to decide such dispute, the Sub-divisional Magistrate having jurisdiction over the largest portion of the land on which such produce is produced or intended to be produced, shall be the Sub- divisional Authority to decide such dispute.

Application to Sub-Divisional Authority

(1) Any party to a farming agreement may, in case of a dispute thereunder, approach the concerned Sub- Divisional Authority by filing an application in Form-1 along with an affidavit, a copy of farming agreement, memorandum of conciliation proceeding, if any, any document in support of the claims made therein and proof for having served a copy of such application with documents on the opposite party.

(2) The applicant may serve a copy of the application along with documents on the opposite party either in person or through a registered post or by any other mode and if it is served at the address of the opposite party given in the farming agreement, it shall be deemed to have been duly served on the opposite party:

Provided that in case where it is served through a registered post, it shall be deemed to have been served on the opposite party after lapse of seven days therefrom.

Format of application to the Magistrate

(See rule 4)

Application to the Sub-divisional Authority under the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020

Before The Sub-Divisional Authority,

_______________Applicant

Vs

_______________Opposite Party

Sir,

The undersigned makes this application for appropriate order of the Sub-divisional Authority as per the provisions of the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, on the basis of the following facts and information:-

1- Name of the applicant and Father’s name

2- Full address of the applicant

3- Age of the applicant

4- Occupation of the applicant

5- Brief particulars of the applicant’s engagement in agricultural activities

6- Brief particulars of the relevant farming agreement, including parties to such agreement

7- Nature of dispute arising out of or relating to the farming agreement

8-Whether any documents or affidavits of applicant or any witnesses are annexed (give details)

9- Any other information that may be necessary and helpful in the disposal of the case.

Verification

Verified, at this day of ………………. 20 , that the contents of the above application are true and correct to my knowledge and belief.

Applicant