Selective implementation of SC directions criticised

Beneficiaries in Tumkur, Mysore forced to avail Aadhaar to get LPG subsidy

While LPG customers in other parts of the State are eligible to avail subsidies to 12 year cylinders per year, with or without an Aadhaar card, the situation is different in Mysore and Tumkur districts. The decision by the authorities to continue providing subsidies to only those who have seeded their Aadhaar number with LPG customer numbers and bank accounts, have invited criticism from consumer forums and activists who have opposed the scheme.

Noting the situation in Mysore and Tumkur districts, they have pointed out that the orders by the Supreme Court of India and a decision by the Central government ‘cannot be selective’ and districts where the scheme has ‘stabilised’, such as Mysore and Tumkur, cannot be exempt from the orders applicable across the country.

V K Somashekar of Grahaka Shakti said that customers have to be given LPG subsidies. “We have filed a contempt of court petition in the Supreme Court of India. Apart from it, the Supreme Court has cautioned the Central government not to contravene with the provisions made in the Supreme Court order regarding Aadhaar,” he said. 

It can be recalled that retired Justice K S Puttaswamy had failed a writ petition in the Supreme Court against making Aadhaar cards mandatory.  

Interim order

The Court with regard to the writ petition number, W.P.(C) No. 829/2013, ruled that the Aadhaar was not necessary for a customer to avail benefits from the government. The Court had ruled on September 23, 2013 that: 

“In the meanwhile, no person should suffer for not getting the Adhaar card inspite of the fact that some authority had issued a circular making it mandatory and when any person applies to get the Adhaar Card voluntarily, it may be checked whether that person is entitled for it under the law and it should not be given to any illegal immigrant.” 

Reacting to the issue, retired Major General Sudhir G Vombatkere, member of the National Alliance for People’s Movement, said that the decision to maintain ‘status quo’ in Mysore and Tumkur districts was incorrect and went against the Supreme Court order. “Whoever has decided to maintain status quo, will be liable to be pulled up by the Supreme Court for contempt of court,” he added.

No communication

Meanwhile, oil companies and banks have maintained that the ‘status quo’ is being maintained in Mysore and Tumkur districts.

Dilip Rai, Deputy General Manager of Indian Oil Corporation Limited said that in Mysore and Tumkur, the grace period to complete the seeding process was over and only customers who have seeded their accounts will get subsidies. 

“We have not asked anyone to compulsorily have Aadhaar. However, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has asked the oil companies to continue the seeding process. Until we receive any official communication, subsidies will only be given to customers who have seeded their accounts with Aadhaar,” he said.

K N Shivalingaiah, lead bank manager of the district said that guidelines from the Center were awaited.

Mysore-Kodagu MP A H Vishwanath said that statements made with regard to DBT of subsidies was ‘confusing’, and an appropriate decision regarding the same will be taken in the next Parliament session.

On Friday, Deputy Commissioner C Shikha had said that district administrations had no role to play in the scheme. However, Vishwanath said that the Deputy Commissioner and the district administration should intervene, so that subsidies are not denied to the people of the district.

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