Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice in a plea filed seeking directions for setting up of a strict mechanism for payment of price of sugarcane produce to cane farmers and avoid accumulation of such dues.
The mechanism has been sought to prevent cane farmers from the vicious cycle when a sugar mill is declared sick. Usually, their dues of sugarcane produce remain unpaid during the process of resolution or liquidation of the sugar mills/factories leading to deteriorating financial condition.
During the hearing today, Senior Counsel Anand Grover appearing for the petitioner submitted before a Bench comprising CJI Ramana and Justice Surya Kant that the cane growers who are supposed to be paid their dues within 15 days ofdelivery under the law have not been paid at all. He added that they are seeking an order that the assets of those who are not paying should be attached.
“There is already a Allahabad High Court judgement available”, remarked CJI N V Ramana.
“That was in 2014, not now. There is no matter pending with respect of this.” Mr Grover explained.
“Now, UP has to pay 7550 crores, Karnataka has to pay 3555 crores, and Maharashtra 230 crores” , CJI added.
“There’s around 18000 crores total, and despite law being clear every year they are defaulting in payments. The States only issue recovery orders and don’t to anything. They should attach the sugar and sell it as Allahabad High Court had done.” Mr Grover submitted.
“We have seen the order. Issue notice. Permitted to take out notice to concerned States.” The Bench recorded.
The notice has been issued to Union of India and States including States of UP, Maharashtra, Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Bihar, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
The present plea filed through Advocate Krishan Kumar has sought directions to Centre and respondent States to file affidavits setting out the details of the amounts due, the amounts paid and arrears by the sugar mills to the sugar cane grower or their cooperatives for sale of their cane.
Further directions have been sought to Union of India and respondent States to place on record the details of actions taken by them against sugar mills and factories for-
1. No payment of dues and arrears along with interest by the sugar mills to the sugar cane growers or to their cooperative for the sale of the cane to the sugar mills.
2. Fraudulent diversion of funds received by the sugar mills from the Central or State Governments.
The petition has sought directions to be issued to respondent states to attach the sugar stocks lying with sugar mills and factories and sell the same and pay the amounts so realised to the sugar cane growers or their cooperative society by framing operative directions as formulated by the Allahabad High Court in the matter of Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan (Regd) vs State Of U.P (2014).
While urging for directions to ensure strict compliance of provisions of Sugar (Control) Order, 1966, the plea has sought directions for release of some ad hoc payment to the cane growers against their outstanding dues.
Case Title: Raju Shetti & Ors vs Union of India