Petitioner had filed the application for registration on 23rd September, 2006 after the 2002, Scheme had come to an end, as the scheme was applicable only upto 31 st March, 2006. The industrial park set up by them was not operational/functional by 31st March, 2006. It became operational on a subsequent date. The completion certificate for the said park issued by the Pune Municipal Corporation is dated 29th August, 2007. The petitioner cannot, therefore, claim notification under the 2002, Scheme.
We may note that the policy dated 8th January, 2008 has not been challenged before us on merits. The ground of challenge before us was limited to the retrospective operation and to the extent that there is conflict between the 2008 scheme and the parent Act, i.e., Section 80 IA (4) as the proviso had extended the period of the 2002 policy. We have rejected these contentions. A policy decision, though not beyond the scope and power of judicial review, can be interfered with when it is wholly irrational or inconsistent with the express or implied provisions of the statute. Government is normally free to modify, amend or withdraw fiscal benefits from time to time and they have right to implement the policy decisions. Sometimes, there can be radical difference of opinion on views but that cannot be a ground to set aside/quash a policy decision. A policy decision is quashed when there is something overwhelming and it is apparent that the decision is completely irrational or as stated above is inconsistent with the express or implied provisions of the statute.
In view of the aforesaid position, we do not find any merit in the present writ petitions and the same are dismissed. The interim order is vacated. Liberty is, however, granted to the petitioner to file an appeal against the assessment order dated 22nd October, 2010 before the appellate authority on merits, but the petitioner would not be entitled to question the validity of the letters/orders dated 28th July, 2009 and 8th October, 2008 in the appellate proceedings or claim that the petitioner has been registered under Section 80 IA(4)(iii) of the Act. In the facts and circumstances of the case, there will be no order as to costs.
Our comments -The given ruling would have far reaching implications for all cases where approvals are at various stages under the 2002 Scheme. Further, the High Court has held that the doctrine of promissory estoppel will not apply in the present case since no promise was held by the Ministry in its letters and calling for details / information cannot be construed as a promise. Separately, the High Court has also stated that Government is free to modify, amend or withdraw fiscal benefits from time to time and they have right to implement the policy decisions.