HC reserves order in crop insurance PIL plea

The Telangana High Court on Friday reserved orders in a PIL petition over failure of State government to enforce crop insurance scheme and seeking compensation to farmers who suffered crop loss due to rains in October 2020.

While hearing contentions of the parties, a bench of Acting Chief Justice M.S. Ramachandra Rao and Justice T. Vinod Kumar said it was not willing to accept State government’s contention that there was no crop loss in year 2020. The petitioners sought to declare failure of the State government to implement crop insurance scheme as illegal and arbitrary and a direction to pay compensation to farmers over crop loss due to rains.

Advocate General B.S. Prasad told the court that there was no crop loss as such in the State during that period due to rains. When the bench wanted to know why did the State government write to the Centre seeking assistance and relief for crop loss, the AG replied that was based only on preliminary estate.

The bench noted that State Chief Minister made a specific demand for assistance from the Centre for crop loss. Even Chief Secretary wrote to the Centre on the matter. Now, the government claimed that crop losses were zero. “Did you write back to the Centre stating that there was no crop loss in the State having earlier sought assistance?”, the Acting CJ asked the AG.

The bench said that general principles of Evidence Act cannot be ignored in PIL petitions. When the explanation given by any party contradicted the records submitted to the court, the matter required to be examined in perspective, the bench said.

The petitioner’s counsel Ch. Ravi Kumar said that, refuting the contentions of the AG that no enumeration of crop losses were conducted, how did the authorities arrive at preliminary estimates without any enumeration. “Even to affirm that there was no crop loss, enumeration was essential,” he said.

He argued that since the government did not pay its share of premium towards crop insurance scheme, the farmers could not secure compensation from insurance companies. While the government was claiming to have spent nearly ₹15,000 crore towards input subsidy under Rythu Bandhu scheme to all farmers, it was not fair on its part not to pay ₹1,000 crore for crop insurance, he argued.

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Printable version | Oct 26, 2021 11:15:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/hc-reserves-order-in-crop-insurance-pil-plea/article36527367.ece

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