CHENNAI: The Madras High Court was told on Thursday that the distribution of `2,000 dole to the families living below poverty line (BPL) in the State had been stopped in view of the model code of conduct in force for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Advocate-General Vijay Narayan made a submission when two PIL petitions challenging the dole distribution came up before a division bench of Justices S Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad on Thursday. The enumeration work has also been stopped, Narayan added.
Petitioners M Karunanidhi and M Murugesan submitted that the dole should be given only to the people below poverty line, as per a GO dated January 9, 2007. But the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj department issued a GO on February 13, stating that the one-time special assistance of `2,000 would be distributed to the poor families living in rural and urban areas, particularly, agricultural labourers and families of poor labourers engaged in various trades in the state. On the very same day, the department issued another GO laying down guidelines for implementation of the first GO.
Petitioner contended that there was no proper identification of beneficiaries under the scheme. The beneficiaries should only be the people living below poverty line and could not include those above poverty line. Tax payers’ money would be utilised in extending the benefit to families not below poverty line. This would amount to an abuse of government funds for garnering votes at the cost of the State exchequer, petitioners contended and sought to quash the February 13 GOs.
It is to be noted that the same bench dismissed the petitions on March 7. Finding that the copy of the second GO, dated February 13, produced by the petitioners, appeared to be manipulated, the bench issued notice to them, asking them to file an affidavit explaining how they had obtained the copy of the GO within two weeks.
Accordingly, the petitioners filed their affidavits on Thursday. The judges adjourned the matter to April 29.