The Delhi High Court on Friday rejected to grant any interim relief on a plea alleging violation of the model code of conduct (MCC) by the Andhra Pradesh government. The court was hearing a plea filed by an organisation Jana Chaitanya Vedika which alleged that the Chandrababu Naidu-led Andhra Pradesh government had violated the model code by announcing populist schemes like 'Pasupu Kumkuma'.
The organisation made two representations to the EC on March 12 and March 30 seeking action against the state government to keep the transfer of amounts in abeyance till the date of polling.
Justice Yogesh Khanna said there was no need to interfere in the issue. The order came after the court was informed that the Election Commission has taken a decision on the representations of Jana Chaitanya Vedika.
The EC said the scheme in question was announced prior to enforcement of MCC and that the commission has directed the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Andhra Pradesh through an April 2 letter to follow the instructions and that no publicity should be given on the fund release.
The court on April 3 asked the commission to dispose of the two representations by passing a speaking order by Thursday evening.
Representing the Jana Chaitanya Vedika, Senior Advocate Raju Ramachandran and lawyer Ashish Virmani told the court that the Andhra Pradesh government on January 25 launched a new scheme named "Pasupu Kumkuma", which was implemented in February.
Under this scheme, financial help was provided to women registered with self-help groups to improve their lives and the state government was providing Rs 10,000 cash and a smartphone to every eligible applicant.
"According to the scheme, about 93 lakh women will benefit (from thew scheme) and the financial aid was to be paid in three instalments within three months."
Two more schemes were launched in January -- one was to enhance old age pension amount from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000 per month, while the other AP Annadatha Sukhibhav scheme was for farmers.
The counsel has questioned the imminent disbursal of the amounts under the schemes to the public days before the state goes to polls.
The counsel said that the action of the AP government to transfer the funds under the garb of schemes just prior to the polling is ex-facie mala fide and a deliberate attempt to influence the voters using public money.
If the Andhra government is permitted to proceed with disbursal, it would amount to a serious violation of the Model Code of Conduct. Besides, it would impede a clean and fair electoral process, the counsel said.