It’s been a busy week for the Supreme Court, which ruled made decision on several high profile cases. Topping the list was the Ayodhya dispute, which has now effectively been reopened. On Monday the Court stayed the ruling in the case by the Allahabad high court. Its injunction also said the original ruling needed what it called “correction.” Back in September, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court had declared the disputed site should be split, with two Hindus groups getting a third each and a Muslim group being awarded the remaining one-third.
The Supreme Court’s other key move was on the Bhopal gas disaster case. On Wednesday the court clarified the implications of its landmark 1996 verdict. It said its decision should not have prevented a lower court from increasing the charges against those convicted. The Supreme Court then dismissed a curative petition from the CBI that asked for tougher sentences. In June of last year, a court in Bhopal had sentenced seven people to two years of imprisonment for their role in the Bhopal disaster.
Moving to results, mortgage lender HDFC has done brisk business in the fourth quarter. Its profits rose 23 percent to Rs1,142 crore. That’s on a 30.5% increase in total income to Rs3,785 crore. HDFC’s profits were helped along by a demand from borrowers. The company expects its loan book to increase 20% in the current fiscal.
Meanwhile, some loans are getting more expensive. The country’s biggest lender, State Bank of India, hiked its lending rates by 75 basis points. That means its base rate is now 9.25%. Meanwhile, short-term deposit rates are also up, with an increase of up to 225 basis points. SBI’s move was, of course, a response to the Reserve Bank’s hike in policy rates a week before.
Moving to the economy, numbers released this week indicate continuing growth. Starting with industrial output, which surged past all forecasts in March to a five month high. The index of industrial production rose 7.3% during the month on a year-on-year basis. In contrast, February’s revised figure was just 3.7%.
This is how the IIP figures break up by sector. Manufacturing rose 7.9% in March. And capital goods shot up 12.9%. Meanwhile, electricity generation increased 7.2%, while mining nudged up just 0.2%.