Mumbai News

Bombay high court refuses to extend central soft loan scheme to private sugar factories in Maharash… – Hindustan Times

The Bombay High Court has refused to extend the benefit of soft loan scheme floated by the ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution to private sugar factories in Maharashtra.

The division bench of justices SV Gangapurwala and Shrikant Kulkarni dismissed a petition filed by seven private sugar factories from Marathwada region in this regard on Thursday. The petitioners had challenged the validity of March 22, 2018 notification issued by Maharashtra co-operatives department, which is implementing the scheme in the state, keeping the private sugar factories out of the purview of the scheme.

The petitioners said that by issuing the notification, the state co-operatives department has restricted benefit of the soft loan scheme only to 29 co-operative sugar factories. For 2014-15 season, when the scheme was floated to ensure payment of fair and remunerative price of sugar cane to farmers, the benefit was extended to a mix of 175 private and co-operative sugar factories in Maharashtra.

It was argued on behalf of the petitioner factories that the scheme framed by the central government and implemented by the state government cannot in any way discriminate between co-operative and private sugar factories. The scheme was made applicable uniformly taking into consideration the interest of the agriculturists, but the state government has deprived private sugar factories like the petitioners from getting benefit of the scheme.

The high court, however, refused to accept their argument that the state notification was arbitrary and caused injustice to the petitioners factories, which are facing financial crisis because of their exclusion from the scheme.

The bench said the state government had initially extended benefit of the scheme to all sugar factories, but it was later restricted to 29 co-operative sugar factories.

“If the private sugar factories are left out or excluded from getting benefit of soft loan scheme, it cannot be said to be an arbitrary decision,” said the bench.

“The government has a right to take policy decision, particularly wherein financial implications are involved,” the bench said further.

“Policy matters are within the domain and competence of the state government and where any policy involves financial and economic ramifications, the court certainly would not transgress upon the policy making power of the state,” it added.