SC stays Madras HC order on TN farm loan waiver
The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the order of Madras High Court directing the Tamil Nadu government to extend its crop loan waiver scheme to all farmers, including those having land holdings of above five acres.
A bench headed by Justices MB Lokur and Deepak Gupta issued a notice to the association of agriculturists and stayed the April 4 order of the Madurai Bench of the High Court. Counsel for the state government said the scheme was only meant for small and marginal farmers with land below five acres and said the policy decision of government cannot be interfered with.
The state government which has challenged the High Court order said it would suffer irreparable loss if the verdict was stayed.
It said the new government, in order to fulfil its poll promise, had ordered the waiver of crop loan given to small farmers by cooperative societies and banks.
It said the list of beneficiaries was prepared in 2016 as the government intended to give relief only to small farmers after taking into account the budgetary allocation and revenue collection.
The High Court had passed the order on writ petitions seeking to extend the scheme to all farmers of the state, irrespective of the size of land holdings.
It had said that the central government cannot be a mute spectator when the state government was facing a difficult financial situation and should extend a helping hand.
The High Court had also restrained the authorities from initiating any action against the farmers for recovery of crop loan as on March 31, 2016.
The Supreme Court decision on Monday has shocked the farmers who protested in New Delhi to draw attention to their plight. Distressed by the apex court's judgment, P. Ayyakannu of the National South Indian River Interlinking Agriculturist Association, said, "We conducted agitation in Delhi for 41 days. When the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu came to meet us, we requested the CM to not appeal against the Madras High Court's decision. He promised us he will not appeal."