In a big breather to the Tamil Nadu government, the Madras High Court on Thursday dismissed the PIL petitions challenging the GOs relating to payment of Rs 2,000 to the families living below poverty line (BPL) in the state. A division bench, comprising of Justices S Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad, upheld the validity of the GOs while dismissing the PIL petitions from M Karunanidhi of Kadambur village in Villupuram district and Murugesan of Vellore.
"It is for the state government to decide as to who should be the beneficiaries under a particular scheme," a bench of Justices S Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad said while dismissing the petition. The petitioners, M Karunanidhi and Murugesan, had sought for strict adherence to the guidelines framed by the government and to identify the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families, including publishing a list of such families on the state website before distributing the one-time financial assistance of Rs 2,000.
The HC passed the order after hearing the arguments of Advocate-General Vijay Narayan and senior counsel P Wilson, who appeared on behalf of the petitioners. On February 11, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami announced a "special financial assistance" of Rs 2,000 to 60 lakh families in the state below the poverty line. The chief minister said the money was being given on the grounds that poor people in several districts have been affected by Cyclone Gaja and drought-like situation following the failure of monsoon.
Earlier, Satta Panchayat Iyakkam, an NGO raised suspicion over the methodology adopted by the government in estimating the BPL families in the state. The primary contention of the PIL was that the government inflated the figures with an eye on the general elections. However, the court dismissed the petition stating that there was no irregularity in the scheme.