Interest and Compensation

The essence of interest in the opinion of Lord Wright, in Riches v. Westminitser Bank Ltd., 1947 AC 390 : (1947) 1 All ER 469 is that:
“….it is a payment which becomes due because the creditor has not had his money at the due date. It may be regarded either as representing the profit he might have made if he had had the use of the money, or, conversely, the loss he suffered because he had not that use. The general idea is that he is entitled to compensation for the deprivation;
The money due to the creditor was not paid, or, in other words,
‘was withheld from him by the debtor after the time when payment should have been made, in breach of his legal rights, and interest was a compensation, whether the compensation was liquidated under an agreement or statute’.
A Division Bench of the High Court of Punjab in CIT v. Sham Lal Narula, AIR 1963 P&H 411 held as under :
“The words “interest” and “compensation” are sometimes used interchangeably and on other occasions they have distinct connotation. “Interest” in general terms is the return or compensation for the use or retention by one person of a sum of money belonging to or owed to another. In its narrow sense, “interest” is understood to mean the amount which one has contracted to pay for use of borrowed money………..
In whatever category “interest” in a particular case may be put, it is a consideration paid either for the use of money or for forbearance in demanding it, after it has fallen due, and thus, it is a charge for the use or forbearance of money. In this sense, it is a compensation allowed by law or fixed by parties, or permitted by custom or usage, for use of money, belonging to another, or for the delay in paying money after it has become payable.’ Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Ltd. V. PPN Power Generating Company Private Ltd. (2014) 11 SCC 53

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