It directed the cooperation, food and consumer protection department and registrar of cooperative societies to extend the crop loan waiver scheme under two Government Orders of 2016, to all farmers, including those whose landholding was more than five acres.
"We further direct the department to issue necessary consequential order extending the impugned scheme to all farmers. The order shall be issued within three months from today," the bench said.
The Association alleged that government has shown discrimination in classifying farmers as small and medium and sought a direction to quash the GOs as illegal and to direct authorities to give relief to all farmers for loans taken from cooperative societies, irrespective of extent of land owned.
The court, which had heard the petition in Madurai Bench, delivered its judgement on Tuesday at the principal seat in Chennai.
"In view of the foregoing discussions and conclusions arrived therein, we are of the view that the denial of benefit of crop loan to the farmers who had cultivated lands exceeding five acres is a clear discrimination, violative of Article 14 of the Constitution. Consequently, we restrain the respondents from initiating action against the farmers for recovery of crop loans and outstanding dues to cooperative societies/banks, as on March 31, 2016," it said.
News Source - Business Standard