The Madras high court today stayed the Tamil Nadu government’s Pongal gift of Rs 1,000 in cash to all ration card holders.
The court restricted the State government from giving Pongal gift of Rs 1,000 to those above the poverty line. It also questioned why cash is being given to everyone and not just to those below the poverty line.
It however said the gift hamper can be given to all.
Following High Court’s order, those with ‘white ration cards’ will not be able get the Pongal cash gift.
“Why are you distributing ₹1,000 as Pongal gift to all ration card holders irrespective of economic status? It is public money not your party funds,” said Justice Sathyanarayanan.
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 ₹1,000 to all ration card holders in the State, without any restriction on their financial status.
The petitioner claimed that the total loan liability of the state exceeded that of West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, and it was in dire need of funds, including to meet the rehabilitation measures in cyclone Gaja-hit areas.
Terming the move as totally misconceived, he sought a direction from the court to restrain the government from distributing the cash gift.