The Madras High Court Bench here has directed the Secretaries of the State Higher Education department and Special Programme Implementation Department to take a decision on extending the free laptop distribution scheme to the students of the university colleges in the State.
Justice K.K. Sasidharan issued the directions after hearing the case of Senthil Kumar, a final-year B.Sc. Computer Science student of Madurai Kamaraj University (MKU) College here. Mr. Senthil moved the court stating that around 20 students of MKU College met the Secretary of Higher Education Department and around 200 students met the Madurai Collector seeking free laptops for students of their college. The Collector had made a request to the State to extend the free laptop scheme to students of university colleges under the Assured Maximum Service to Marginal People in All Villages (AMMA) scheme, he added, but sought the court’s aid to get the scheme extended.
According to Mr. Senthil, the students of Anna University and Stella Maris College in Chennai were given free laptops. The scheme should be extended to his college as well, he contended.
But the Additional Advocate General claimed that the university colleges did not come under the purview of the scheme.
To extend it, a policy decision had to be taken by the State, he said while seeking time to enable the government to take a decision in the matter.
The Special Programme Implementation Department is already considering the possibility of extending the scheme to the university colleges, besides the government and government-aided colleges, he stated.
“Since the government has seized of the matter and it is under active consideration, it cannot be said that the government will not extend the free laptop scheme to the students of the university colleges in Tamil Nadu. The government should be given a breathing time to take a decision in the matter, in view of the heavy financial implication,” observed Justice Sasidharan in his order.
“The government is the best judge to decide such matters. Therefore, I am of the view that reasonable time should be given to the government to take a decision in the larger public interest,” the judge further said.
He directed the secretaries to take a decision to extend the scheme before April 30, taking into account the extension of the scheme to the students of Anna University and Stella Maris College.
He also referred to the district administration’s AMMA scheme and said, “I hope the Collector will extend the benefits of AMMA scheme to the students of MKU College by taking up the issue with the government to its logical end.”