Modifying its earlier order, the Madras High Court on Friday allowed distribution of Rs 1,000 as gift by Tamil Nadu government on Pongal festival to those holding ration cards on which only sugar can be purchased.
The court allowed the state government to give Rs 1,000 to 'non-priority household' only for sugar category of people, accepting the plea that such households also belong to economically weaker section.
Hearing a PIL, the court on Jan 9, restrained the Tamil Nadu government from distributing Rs 1,000 as a cash gift to all ration card holders regardless of financial status.
Pointing out to the government that it was public money and, not the party money, the court said it would not question if it was the latter.
The court said the total cash outgo will be about Rs 2,000 crore which could be used for relief works in cyclone Gaja-hit districts or infrastructure development and others.
According to the court, the Pongal cash gift can be given to people who are below the poverty line and not above.
On Jan 2, Governor Banwarilal Purohit while addressing the Assembly had said the state government would provide a cash gift of Rs 1,000 and a gift hamper to all ration card holders in the state to celebrate Pongal festival.
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