Farmers’ Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services (Dispute Resolution) Rules, 2020
Farmers’ Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services (Dispute Resolution) Rules, 2020
The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has issued the Farmers’ Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services (Dispute Resolution) Rules, 2020. As per this rule, if the farming agreement does not provide for a conciliation process or the farmers to the farming agreement fail to settle their dispute within a period of thirty days, then, any party can approach the concerned Sub-Divisional Magistrate for deciding the disputes under farming agreements. The article briefs the provisions of the Farmers’ Dispute Resolution Rules, 2020.
Note on the Farming Agreement
The 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 quality, in which the Sponsor agrees to purchase such farming produce from the farmer and to provide farm services. Every farming agreement shall explicitly provide for a conciliation process and formation of a conciliation board consisting of representatives of parties to the agreement. The Farming agreement includes the following:
- Trade and commerce agreement: If 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
- Production agreement: If 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
- Other agreements or a combination of agreements specified above
Know more about the Farming agreement
Dispute settlement as per Farming Agreement
Every farming agreement shall explicitly provide for a conciliation process and formation of a conciliation board consisting of representatives of parties to the agreement:
- A dispute arising from any farming agreement will 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 a settlement of such dispute.
- If any dispute, a settlement arrives during the course of conciliation proceeding, a memorandum of the settlement will be drawn accordingly and signed by the parties to such dispute and such settlement shall be binding on the parties
In case the farming agreement does not provide for conciliation process as required under or the parties to the farming agreement fail to settle their dispute 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.
Dispute settlement as per Farmers’ Dispute Resolution Rules, 2020
The Dispute settlement process as per the Farmers’ Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services (Dispute Resolution) Rules, 2020 is as follows:
Prescribed Authority to Decide Dispute
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 product is produced or intended to be produced is Sub-divisional Authority to decide the dispute
In case 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 product is produced or intended to be produced, will be the Sub-divisional Authority to decide such dispute
Dispute Settlement Process
If any dispute arises under the farming agreement in respect of any farming produce, the farmer needs to approach the concerned Sub- Divisional Authority and submit the following documents:
- An application in the prescribed format
- Farming agreement
- Memorandum of conciliation proceeding
- Any document in support of the claims made therein
- Proof for having served a copy of such application with documents on the opposite party
The applicant needs to provide a copy of the application along with documents to the opposite party either in person or through a registered post or by any other more. If it is served through a registered post, it shall be deemed to have been served on the opposite party after a lapse of seven days therefrom.
The prescribed application form for Dispute Settlement Farmers’ Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services (Dispute Resolution) Rules, 2020 is as follows:Dispute Resolution Rules-10-12
Conciliation Board for Dispute Settlement
On receipt of the application, the Sub-Divisional Authority will start verification. If the authority finds that the farming agreement did not provide for the conciliation process, will appoint a conciliation board within fourteen days from the date of receipt of the application.
- The Sub-Divisional Authority will consider the nature, gravity and monetary value involved in the dispute, simultaneously appoint members as recommended by the disputing parties, to the conciliation board.
- If a party fails to recommend members within seven days, the Sub-Divisional Authority may appoint such members as it thinks fit, to represent such parties.
Dispute Settlement through Conciliation Board
For conciliation, the following procedure will be followed by the conciliation board:
- The chairperson of the conciliation board will fix the date and the time of each conciliation session, where all parties have to be present
- Each disputing party will provide to the conciliation board a brief memorandum setting forth the issues, which need to be resolved
- The conciliation board may ask disputing parties to furnish other information required in connection with the issues to be resolved
- The parties will ordinarily be present personally at the conciliation sessions notified by the conciliation board
If a party fails to attend a session fixed by the conciliation board deliberately or willfully for two consecutive times, conciliation will be deemed to have failed and the conciliation board shall report such matter to the Sub-Divisional Authority
The Time Limit for Completion of Conciliation
The process of conciliation under Farmers’ Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services (Dispute Resolution) Rules, 2020 will be completed within a period of thirty days from the date of appointment of the conciliation board.
Memorandum of Settlement
On settlement of the dispute, a Memorandum of Settlement shall be drawn accordingly and duly signed by the disputing parties and it shall be binding upon them.
In case the dispute is not settled, the conciliation board will prepare a brief report stating the brief issues, efforts made by it to resolve those issues, the cause for failure of conciliation, and any other matters that the conciliation board deems appropriate. A copy of the brief report prepared will be provided to the Sub- Divisional Authority and to each of the parties.
Dispute Settlement through Sub-Divisional Authority
If the conciliation board fails to resolve the dispute or the parties to the transaction are unable to resolve the dispute within a month, an aggrieved party will have to make an application to the concerned Sub- Divisional Authority within fourteen days to decide the dispute.
After receiving the application, the Sub-divisional Authority finds that the farming agreement had provided for a conciliation process, but the parties have failed to settle their dispute through conciliation, the Sub-Divisional Authority will proceed with the following processes;
- The prescribed authorities will issue a notice to both parties and they will attend proceedings before the Sub- Divisional Authority on the designated date
- The authority will hear both the parties by taking into account circumstances and the documentary evidence provided by the parties
- The Sub-Divisional Authority will decide the dispute in a summary manner by passing a reasoned order within thirty days from the date of its filing, after giving an opportunity of being heard to the concerned parties
The Collector of the concerned district or the Additional Collector nominated by the Collector of the district shall be the Appellate Authority to decide the appeal against the order passed by the Sub- Divisional Authority
Procedure for disposing of the Appeal
A party aggrieved by the order of the Sub- Divisional Authority can file an appeal to the Appellate Authority by the electronic filing of such appeal within thirty days of passing of such order.
The appellant need to comply with the following requirements in filing an appeal
- The appeal memo will be in writing and duly signed and verified by the appellant
- The certified copy of the order passed by the Sub-Divisional Authority along with supporting documents will accompany the appeal memo
- The appeal memo will be filed personally or through an advocate
The Appellate Authority will dispose of the appeal by passing an order within thirty days from the date of filing of such appeal, after giving the concerned parties a reasonable opportunity of being heard.
The order passed by the Sub-Divisional Authority or passed in appeal by the Appellate Authority shall have the force of the decree of the civil court and shall be enforceable and the decretal amount shall be recovered as arrears of land revenue.
Please click on the official link on Farmers’ Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services (Dispute Resolution) Rules, 2020 for reference.