Chennai: The Madras high court relaxed its restriction on distributing Pongal festival cash gift of Rs 1,000 to a section of ration card-holders on Friday. Two days ago, the court restricted distribution of the cash gift to only ration card holders belonging to below poverty line and low-income group only.
When the matter came up for hearing on Friday, a division bench of Justice M. Sathyanarayanan and P. Rajamanickam modified its interim order passed on December 9 and permitted the state to extend the cash gift to sugar card-holders also.
Advocate-general Vijay Narayan on Friday submitted that most of the families in NPHH-S category (Non Priority House Hold only for Sugar) also belonged to economically weaker background. And number of such families cannot be arrived at this juncture as the economic indices are not available, as the government is issuing the family cards on the basis of residential proof only. Of 10,11,330 NPHH-S card holders as on Thursday, 4,12,558 card holders have received the gift. The balance card holders under this category, most of whom are also from below poverty line category, are affected and are highly disappointed by non-receipt of the benefit.
The bench said “Since a responsible officer has submitted through a sworn affidavit that those with non-priority household only for sugar (NPHH-S) cards also fall under the below poverty line category, we are permitting the government to distribute the to balance 5,98,772 falling under this category.”...