Distribution of Rs 1,000 for ration card holders stayed

Distribution of Rs 1,000 for ration card holders stayed

The Madras High Court. PTI file photo

Tamil Nadu Government had egg on its face on Wednesday when the Madras High Court imposed a stay on distribution of Rs 1,000 as Pongal gift for all 1.91 crore ration card holders. It ordered that the money should be handed over only to families belonging to the below poverty line (BPL).

The division bench of Justices M Sathyanarayanan and P Rajamanickam came down heavily on the Edappadi K Palaniswami government for distributing Rs 1000 for all ration card holders irrespective of their economic status.

“How can you give Rs 1,000 to all ration card holders and call it policy decision? It's not your party money for us not to raise questions. It is government money,” the division bench asked while tearing into the government.

The interim order came on a petition filed by activist J Daniel Jesudass who challenging the government's decision to provide the gift to all the ration card holders. With the order, only 91 lakh families out of 1.91 crore cardholders, will be eligible for cash assistance.

The judges questioned why affluent people should also get Rs 1000 just because they have a ration card. They, however, allowed distribution of sugarcane and other items for all ration card holders.

The Tamil Nadu government, Governor Banwarilal Purohit announced in his speech to the Assembly last week, had decided to distribute Rs 1,000 to all ration card holders as Pongal gift.

“A cash support of Rs 1,000 per family for the celebration of harvest festival Pongal will be applicable to the entire state except in Tiruvarur district” where the Model Code of Conduct is in force, in view of the bypoll on January 28, the Governor had said in his speech.