Madras high court relaxes stay on Rs 1000 Pongal gift

The Madras High Court, which two days ago restricted distribution of Rs 1,000 Pongal cash gift to ration card holders belonging to below poverty line and low-income group only, has relaxed it today. A division bench of Justice M Sathyanarayanan and P Rajamanickam said, "Since a responsible officer has submitted through a sworn affidavit that those with non-priority household only for sugar (NPHH-S) cards also fall under the below poverty line category, we are permitting the government to distribute to distribute the cash gift to balance 5,98,772 falling under this category."

A day after the Madras High Court permitted the State government to dole out Pongal cash gift of Rs 1,000 to more than 1.85 crore ration cardholders across the State and restrained it from distributing the money to around 10.42 lakh cardholders, the government moved a petition before the court on Thursday with a plea to relax the restraint order and confine it to just 41,106 ration cardholders.

Appearing before Justices M Sathyanarayanan and P Rajamanickam, Additional Government Pleader E Manohar informed the judges about the petition filed by the State urging the court to relax the restriction and requested for a early hearing. The senior judge replied that his Bench would hear the case as and when the High Court Registry numbers the petition and lists it before them for hearing. 
Claiming that most of the families coming under the NPHH-S category also belong to economically weaker background, the government asked the court to modify the January 9 order and allow it to provide the cash gift to that category also. In its petition, the state government had submitted that the number of such families cannot be arrived at this juncture as the economic indices are not available. Out of 10,11,330 NPHH-S card holders as of Thursday, 4,12,558 card holders have received the gift, it said.