A bench of Chief Justice J.S. Khehar and Justice N.V. Ramana asked them to respond within four weeks. The bench said that it is a "sensitive matter" of larger public interest involving farmers throughout the country.
The government, in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha on November 25 last year, had cited a 2014 report of the National Crime Records Bureau and said farmers commit suicide because of debt, crop failure, drought, social-economic and personal reasons.
According to the NCRB's report Accidental Deaths & Suicides in India 2014, the latest available then, 5,650 farmers have committed suicides in that year. Maharashtra reported the highest such suicides-2568 or nearly half the total-- followed by Telangana with 898 and Madhya Pradesh with 826.
The court was hearing a plea filed by a non-governmental organisation on issues related to farmers.