Delhi HC rejects plea against AP govt schemes
The Delhi High Court on Friday declined the plea of an organisation alleging that the Andhra Pradesh government has attempted to influence voters by launching schemes, including giving monetary benefits, ahead of polls.
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday declined the plea of an organisation alleging that the Andhra Pradesh government has attempted to influence voters by launching schemes, including giving monetary benefits, ahead of polls.
Justice Yogesh Khanna said there was no need to interfere in the issue. The court was informed that in pursuance to its earlier directions, the Election Commission (EC) has taken a decision on the representations of Jana Chaitanya Vedika, which had alleged that disbursal of money under these schemes after the Lok Sabha election has been notified amounted to violation of the model code of conduct.
The EC, in its speaking order, said the scheme in question was announced prior to the coming into force of the model code of conduct (MCC) and the commission has directed the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Andhra Pradesh through a April 2 letter to follow the instructions and that no publicity should be given on release of funds.
The court had earlier asked the EC to decide by April 4, the pending representations of the organisation on the issue. The organisation had told the court that it had given two representations to the commission in March to take action against the TDP-led state government and direct it to keep the transfer of funds, as part of the schemes, in abeyance till the date of polling but no response was received from the poll panel till April 3, the last date of hearing.
It had said that on January 25, the state government had launched a scheme 'Pasupu Kumkuma' to be implemented from February in which financial help was to be provided to the self-help groups registered women to make their lives better. Under this scheme, the state government was to give cash/direct grant of Rs 10,000 and a smart phone to the eligible applicants and as per the state, about 93 lakh women will be benefitted from this scheme and the amount was to be paid in three instalments within three months, the organisation's counsel had said.
He had added that two instalments of Rs 6,000 have already been paid and the last instalment is likely to be paid on April 5, which should be deferred till elections in the state. The petition, filed through advocate Ashish Virmani, had alleged that the state government's action to transfer the funds under the group of schemes just prior to polling scheduled for April 11, is ex-facie mala fide and a deliberate attempt to influence the voters using public money.
Besides the scheme for women, the state government also enhanced pension amount from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000 per month to old age persons, widow, toddy tappers, weavers, single woman and fishermen and the amounts are likely to be transferred within next 10 days, the plea had said.
It had further said the state government made a provision in the budget for Annadatha Sukhibhava scheme, in which a farmer family will get Rs 10,000, including Rs 6,000 announced by the central government recently.
The counsel for the EC had said the schemes mentioned in the petition were announced prior to coming into force of model code and now it is not within the purview of the poll panel to stop such schemes and it can only issue direction to the state government to avoid publicity of any kind.