The Allahabad High Court directed Bajaj Hindusthan Sugar Limited on Friday to clear the dues of the sugarcane farmers of its five mill areas at Gola Gokaran Nath, Khambhar Khera, Palia Kalan, Barkhera and Maqsoodapur by March 31, 2022, along with a 15-per cent interest.

The Lucknow Bench of the Court cautioned the company that if the dues are not cleared by March 31, the sugarcane commissioner would proceed to issue a recovery certificate to the Collectors and District Magistrates concerned, whereupon the said officials would be under an obligation to recover the dues by exercising all means permissible in law, including coercive action against the company and its directors.

"The sugarcane commissioner would be under an obligation to seriously consider the continued default by the company in this regard as also to assess its financial capacity to pay cane dues etc. and shall give due weightage to this aspect before reserving or assigning cane area for the company for the next crushing season, along with other factors," the Court said.

A Division Bench of Justice Rajan Roy and Justice S K Gupta passed the order, disposing of dozens of writ petitions moved by cane growers, demanding a timely clearance of the cane price and a forthwith payment of the pending dues.

"Considering the totality of the facts and circumstances discussed hereinabove, especially the interest of the farmers, so that on the one hand, the sugar mills may continue to run and on the other hand, the farmers of the area may be able to sell their crop to it and reap benefits thereof, we are of the opinion that any direction for coercive measures against the company for the recovery of the dues in the present scenario at this stage will not serve the interest of the petitioners," the Bench observed.

With PTI Inputs