The Madras High Court Division Bench, comprising of Justices P Rajamanickam and M.Sathyanarayanan, has instructed the Tamil Nadu government to give the Pongal cash gift of Rs 1,000 only to those who have a ration card and are below the poverty line, reports The Hindu.
The order was passed over a public interest litigation (PIL) filed to restrain Tamil Nadu government from distributing the cash gift of Rs 1,000 to all ration card holders in the state without any restriction based on their financial status.
The Judges took the State government to task for announcing cash gifts to over 2.5 crore ration card holders in the State despite its poor financial condition along with the liability to repay huge 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,” said Mr Justice Sathyanarayanan.
In November 2018, a Madras High Court bench had lambasted the Tamil Nadu government for distributing freebies for political benefits, to the point that it had promoted laziness among the people.
J.Daniel Jesudass, a resident of Vellore in Coimbatore district, had filed the PIL petition saying that it was unnecessary to distribute cash gifts in light of the fact that State’s financial health has been remarkably poor.
He observed that the total debt liability of the state was Rs 3,55,845 crore with an added Rs 43,862 crore loan sought by the government despite the revenue being Rs 1,12,616 crore.
The interest component for the loans alone had increased to Rs 29,624 crores in 2018-19 from Rs 18,162 crore in 2015-16.
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