In a major blooper, the Punjab and Haryana high court issued a directive to the state government to implement the provisions of an act that is valid in Pakistan and not India.
The gaffe occurred when the HC gave directions to implement the ‘Punjab Prohibition of Private Money Lending Act 2007’ as it was addressing a bunch of petitions on 29 July and made a score recommendations to redress the farmers’ crisis in Punjab.
According to a report in the Times of India, the law quoted by the bench has been enacted by the Punjab province of Pakistan. Even the syntax of the Act, suffused with words such as ‘federal’ and ‘provincial government’ are not a part of Indian usage to describe the form of governments.
Punjab advocate-general Atul Nanda claimed that although he was unaware of the issue, he will take up the matter with the concerned bench.
This is, however, not the first time that the Pakistani law has been mentioned in a judgment, the last time being in 2014 in the Prem Lal vs Naresh Kumar case regarding a suit of recovery of money on the basis of promissory note by a judge in Delhi's Saket, the report said.
In the Indian state of Punjab, the 'Punjab Settlement of Agricultural Indebtedness Bill, 2016, was passed on March 22, 2016 to provide relief to farmers, labourers and others dependent on agriculture to provide fair settlement of debt-related disputes.
It was amended on September 28, 2018 as 'The Punjab Settlement of Agricultural Indebtedness (Amendment) Act, 2018.'
However, many social activists are of the opinion that the Pakistan law that regulates the money lending business, should also to be enacted here in Punjab, as small and marginal farmers struggle to repay their exorbitant interest rates.