HP HC | Manufacturing of corrugated boxes in itself neither horticulture product nor produce; Held, petitioner’s case not covered under National Horticulture Broad Guidelines

Bail Application

Himachal Pradesh High Court: Tarlok Singh Chauhan, J. dismissed a writ petition where the main issue was ‘whether the manufacturing of corrugated boxes of apple was covered for grant of subsidy as per the scheme appended with the petition.’

The factual matrix was that the petitioner prior to setting up a manufacturing unit of corrugated apple boxes requested the respondent for grant of subsidy by the requisite application. Pursuant to such application respondent carried out an inspection of the premises and after carrying out the same, the application so submitted was rejected with the remarks ‘not covered in National Horticulture Broad Guidelines. Aggrieved by which the petitioner applied to the Court by the way of writ.

The Court observed that Clause II of the said Scheme defined ‘primary processing’ related components, which were eligible for assistance under the scheme. It was further observed that the Coordinate Bench had already concluded that the corrugated boxes which were manufactured by the petitioner was covered under a particular clause i.e. “Horticulture ancillary industry for promoting, indigenous manufacturing of horticulture-related form tools and machineries, equipments, plastics containers, packaging, etc.”

The respondent in compliance to the order passed by the earlier Bench stated that, National Horticulture Board was set up by the Government of India as an autonomous body with a mandate to promote the integrated development of Horticulture with special emphasis on post-harvest management and cold chain to reduce post-harvest loses. The respondent further submitted that for the accomplishment of the said objectives, the respondents provided assistance by way of subsidy under various schemes prescribed for the purpose to facilitate the completion/initiation of such projects. It was further averred that petitioner’s project file was presented before the Appraisal Committee but was found ineligible since manufacturing of corrugated boxes for apple was not covered under that scheme guidelines and as such the application was rejected. It was contended that the interpretation given by the petitioner to the term ‘Packaging’ was incorrect, because as per scheme assistance in case of CFB Cartons, Aseptic Packaging, Polybags, etc. was available on merit for launching a new horticulture product during its first year and for introduction of horticulture products in a market as on-time assistance, as was evident from Clause (iv) of the policy.

The Court held that, it was not in dispute that the petitioner neither launched new horticulture product nor introduced any horticulture product in the market for the assistance of which the petitioner promised the use of the product, therefore, his case was not covered by any of the clauses of the scheme, as the scheme was only attracted in case of CFB Cartons, etc. that were available on merit that too for launch of a new horticulture products during its first year and for the introduction of horticulture produces in the market as a one time assistance. Manufacturing of corrugated boxes in itself was neither a horticulture product nor horticulture produce.[Rajesh Sharma v. Union of India, 2019 SCC OnLine HP 999, decided on 12-07-2019]

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