The Madras High Court on Thursday dismissed a petition challenging the distribution of Rs 2,000 to families living below poverty line (BPL) in Tamil Nadu. According to the court, the state court had followed due process in order to evaluate the eligibility of persons receiving the one-time financial aid of Rs 2,000. The petitioners, M Karunanidhi from Villupuram and Murugesan from Vellore, had contended that instead of granting the aid to just BPL families, those above the poverty line should also have been included.
According to a report in The New Indian Express, a division bench of Justices S Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad observed that it is up to the state government to decide as to who should be the beneficiaries under a particular scheme.
“Courts cannot sit as an appellate authority over the policy of the State, unless the same is so arbitrary that it should be struck down. Even if the data as produced by the petitioner is considered, there would be about 82.63 lakh people below poverty line, if the rural income is taken as Rs 880 per month and the urban income as Rs 937 per month. The beneficiaries in the present scheme are poor families,” said the court, adding, “Going through the material on record and the submissions of the counsel appearing for the parties, we are in agreement with the submissions of the Advocate General that most of the issues raised in the present petition had already been decided in an earlier petition.”
However, TNM had reported earlier that Rs 2000 each distributed as part of the government's poverty alleviation scheme were handed out to families at a posh residential complex in suburban Chennai. Further, while the government was asked to publish and cross-verify beneficiary details at the gram sabha level, elections to these local bodies have been been stalled since October 2016 due to court proceedings and ward delimitation exercise carried out by the state government.