Tamil Nadu

Supreme Court stays Madras HC order directing TN government to waive all crop loans

The government has argued that the waiver scheme was only meant to benefit small and marginal farmers of the State with land below five acres. (Representational image)

The government has argued that the waiver scheme was only meant to benefit small and marginal farmers of the State with land below five acres. (Representational image)   | Photo Credit: PTI

The loan waiver scheme was notified by the Cooperation, Food and Consumer Protection Department on May 23 and 25 of 2016.

The Supreme Court on Monday stayed a Madras High Court order directing the Tamil Nadu government to extend its scheme to waive crop loans to all farmers, including those with land holdings of above five acres.

A Bench led by Justice Madan B. Lokur issued notice and stayed the High Court order in a short hearing.

The government argued that the waiver scheme was only meant to benefit small and marginal farmers with land below five acres. These farmers had taken crop loans from co-operative banks and societies.

The State argued that the April 4, 2017 order of the Madurai Bench of the High Court is “an interference in the domain of the economic policy decision of the government.”

The petition, as an interim relief, asked the court to stay the High Court order, which also imposed on the State a deadline of three months to comply with the order.

“Unless the impugned order is stayed, the petitioner [State] would be put to irreparable loss and damages,” the special leave petition said.

The loan waiver scheme was notified by the Cooperation, Food and Consumer Protection Department on May 23 and 25 of 2016. The loan waiver was part of the election manifesto of the AIADMK.

“Immediately after taking charge, the newly elected Government, to fulfil the promise made in the election manifesto, ordered that the outstanding crop loan, medium term [agriculture] loan and long term [farm sector] loan issued to small and marginal farmers by the cooperative societies/banks as on March 31, 2016 be waived,” the petition said.

“As the intention of the government is to give relief only to small and marginal farmers, the government with a larger public interest, have taken this policy decision after considering vital parameters, viz budgetary allocation, revenue mobilisation, the position of the farmers viz-a-viz their land holding and other considerations,” the petition said.

The preparation of the beneficiaries list was completed in July 2016, it said.

“The beneficiaries list was verified by the officials, and the staff of the Central Cooperative Banks and the final beneficiaries lists were displayed in the notice boards of the respective cooperative societies. Objections received from the aggrieved persons were verified by team of officials,” the petition noted.

Subsequently, list was published on the official website of the Tamil Nadu Cooperative Union, and waiver certificates were issued to the eligible beneficiaries in September 2016.

The High Court order was based on writ petitions filed seeking to extend the loan waiver to all agriculturists and not just the small and marginal ones.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 6:40:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/sc-stays-madras-hc-order-directing-tn-govt-to-waive-all-crop-loans/article19202600.ece

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