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Failure to act according to promises on policies unfair: Supreme Court

Sunday, 9 February 2014 - 10:03am IST | Agency: PTI

The Supreme Court has said that the government should look into "pros and cons" before laying down any policy like 'uninterrupted electricity supply' as failure to act according to promises would be "unfair and immoral" on its part. 

"Before laying down any policy which would give benefits to its subjects, the State must think about pros and cons of the policy and its capacity to give the benefits," a bench comprising justices AR Dave and A K Sikri said. "Without proper appreciation of all the relevant factors, the State should not give any assurance, not only because that would be in violation of the principles of promissory estoppel but it would be unfair and immoral on the part of the State not to act as per its promise," it said.

The remarks were made in the judgement in which Kerala government was found lacking to meet the promise made by it in 1990 policy assuring continuous supply of electricity without power cut for five years to certain new manufacturing units. The policy declared by the government order of May 21, 1990 had also assured that such new units would be given certain exemption regarding payment of electricity duty for a period of five years.

The apex court set aside the judgement of the Kerala High Court which had rejected grievances ventilated by such units that they did not get real benefit of the policy because their production was adversely affected whenever there was power cut and the five years' period of exemption from power cut was not extended by government which was in violation of the promise.

While allowing the appeals of such units, the apex court said "in the instant case, no case had been made out by the State that the appellants (industrial units) had committed any breach or were not entitled to any of the benefits or concessions which had been offered to them by the State." "In the circumstances, the State was bound to give the benefits which had been assured to the appellants," the bench said. 


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