CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has dismissed a PIL petition challenging the distribution of Rs 2,000 to families living below poverty line (BPL) across the State.“It is for the State government to decide as to who should be the beneficiaries under a particular scheme,” said a division bench of Justices S Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad.
The bench dismissed the PILs from M Karunanidhi of Villupuram and Murugesan of Vellore seeking to strictly adhere to the guidelines framed by the government and to identify BPL families, including publishing the names of families in a transparent manner.
After hearing arguments of Advocate-General Vijay Narayan, the bench said, “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 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.
Even if it is assumed that a family consists of four members, then, this will come to about 20 lakh families. “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,” the bench said.
The bench said the State, apart from identifying the rural and urban poor, had also taken into account persons registered with various welfare boards and the GO in question also showed that the scheme was not limited to BPL.