In a setback to the Tamil Nadu government, the Madras High Court on Wednesday stayed a scheme under which Rs 1,000 cash was to be distributed as Pongal gift to all ration card holders in the state.
Saying that the decision would only increase financial burden on the state, the court said the state government could distribute the cash gift to those below the poverty line.
Hearing a petition filed by J Daniel Jesudass, a Coimbatore resident, against the government’s plan to distribute the amount when the state is facing a major financial crisis, the division bench, comprising justices M Sathyanarayanan and P Rajamanickam, also questioned the government’s logic of calling the cash distribution a policy decision.
“How can you give Rs 1,000 to all ration card holders and call it policy decision? It’s not your party money for us not to raise questions. It is government money. One can understand if Pongal gifts are given to people below the poverty line,” the court said.
Tamil Nadu has a long tradition of distributing Pongal gifts such as rice and sugar through ration shops.