The Madras High Court on Wednesday ordered that the State government can dole out Pongal cash gift of Rs 1,000 only to those on and below poverty line in Tamil Nadu, and not to those in three other ‘above poverty line’ categories.
A Division Bench of Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and P. Rajamanickam passed the order on a public interest litigation petition to restrain the State government from disbursing Pongal cash gift of Rs 1,000 to all ration card holders in the State, without any restriction on their financial status.
During the course of hearing of the case, the Judges pulled up the State for deciding to give cash gifts to over 2.5 crore ration card holders in the State despite its poor financial condition fraught with the liability to repay huge amount of loans and their interest.
“Why are you distributing Rs 1,000 as Pongal gift to all ration card holders irrespective of economic status? It is public money not your party funds,” Justice Sathyanarayanan said before passing the orders.
J. Daniel Jesudass, 45, a resident of Vellalore in Coimbatore district, had filed the PIL petition saying that it was absolutely unnecessary to dole out cash gifts when the financial health of the State was very bad.
Jesudass said the loan liability of Tamil Nadu had exceeded that of West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. The situation was so bad that the government was struggling to carry out relief work in districts affected by Cyclone Gaja, though it is more than 45 days since it caused havoc in some of the districts.
The PIL petition was filed by advocate M.L. Ravi of Desiya Makkal Sakthi Katchi on the ...
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