The Madras High Court Friday dismissed a PIL challenging the Tamil Nadu government's move to extend a cash assistance of Rs 2,000 each to about 60 lakh BPL families in the state, holding that there was no irregularity or arbitrariness in the decision. Moreover it was a policy decision of the government to provide special financial help to the poor and those affected by the recent Gaja cyclone and drought and cannot be interfered with, a bench of Justices S Manikumar and Subramonioum Prasad said in its order.
In the public interest litigation, petitioner 'Satta Panchayat Iyakka' -- a non-governmental organisation -- had contended that the number of below poverty line families given by the government was inflated and sought a direction against disbursement of the amount till the correct figure was arrived at based on authentic data. On Monday, Chief Minister K Palaniswami had announced in the state assembly that the special assistance of Rs 2,000 each would be given to about 60 lakh BPL families across the state, keeping in mind the impact of Gaja cyclone as well as the prevailing drought conditions.
When the PIL came up for hearing Friday, the government informed that 32.13 lakh people in rural areas and 23.54 lakh in urban local bodies had been identified as poor and very poor families State Advocate General Vijay Narayan also submitted a copy of the report on the process through which the rural poor families were identified. In the report it was submitted that the Participatory Identification of Poor (PIP) process was conducted in 31 districts covering all the 385 blocks in phases between 2006-07 and 2014-15.
Hence, the government proposed to utilise the household wise data obtained through the PIP in rural areas and the information collected based on the designed parametres in urban areas from time to time, the A-G submitted. "On going through the report, we are of the view that there is no irregularity or arbitrariness in the special financial help scheme announced by the government," the bench said in its order.