From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Kurki
Mains level : Not Much
A farmer in Punjab has committed suicide outside the office of the Muktsar DC against kurki orders for his land based on a court case filed against him by the local moneylender for defaulting on loan payment.
What is Kurki?
- Kurki means attachment of a farmer’s land, already pledged to the money lending institution or individual, in case of a loan default.
- Apart from banks, private moneylenders, commission agents also get these decrees against farmers from time to time.
How is kurki executed?
- Kurki orders are executed under Section 60 of Civil Procedure Code, 1908.
- The land which is pledged by the farmer to the bank or money lender gets registered in their name. In some cases, the land is auctioned as well.
- The process begins after the money lender moves court to get kurki orders in case the farmer is unable to pay back his loan.
- In kurki, attachment of farmer’s land as well as his tractor can be done as per the Section 60.
Was kurki not banned in Punjab?
- Both Akali Dal and Congress governments of the past have claimed to have banned kurki.
- Congress fought the 2017 Assembly polls on the slogan ‘karza kurki khatam, fasal di poori rakam’.
- Soon after winning polls in 2017, the then government abolished Section 67-A of Punjab Cooperative Societies Act that enabled cooperatives to recover unpaid loans through auctioning of land mortgaged by farmers.
- However, Section 63-B, 63-C of the Act were not dropped to prevent attachment of land.
- Former Punjab CM has also claimed that kurki was abolished by his government. Activists accuses governments of issuing vague orders on the matter.
Why has a total ban on the century-old kurki law not been achieved?
- A plea filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 2018 sought complete ban on kurki.
- However, the Punjab government in its affidavit stated that there was no need to ban kurki as relief was being given to farmers in terms of loan waiver, compensation etc.
- Moreover, it stated that Section 60 of Civil Procedure Code, 1908 – under which kurki takes place — was over 110 years old and needed complete revision.
What is the ground reality?
- Farmers point out that they are made to give post-dated cheques for loan, which are then used to get arrest orders issued in cheque bounce cases.
- They have also accused money lenders of using pronotes signed by them to get kurki orders.
- “Pro-notes” (promissory notes) are written documents taken from farmers, and signed by them at the time of giving the loan.
- In April 2022, over 2,000 arrest warrants were issued against farmers for non-payment of loans to cooperative societies and Punjab agriculture development banks.