HC declines to pass orders in PIL plea over ₹10,000 assistance

The Telangana High Court on Tuesday declined to pass any orders in a PIL petition challenging State Election Commission’s directive to State government to stall disbursal of ₹10,000 relief to flood-affected families in GHMC area.

A division bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy said the government can continue disbursal of money after December 4. It directed the Chief Secretary to file a counter affidavit explaining why the government did not request the SEC to permit continuation of disbursal of financial assistance to flood-affected families. The bench also sought to know from the CS if financial assistance was being given to people all over the State or only in GHMC area. It asked the CS why the government consented to conducting GHMC elections even as the disbursal of ₹10,000 was on.

Hearing the PIL plea filed by lawyer S. Sharath Kumar, the bench made it clear that the SEC was not an institution sub-ordinate to the government. It was an independent entity and had the responsibility of conducting free and fair elections.

The petitioner contended that election code was not against extending financial assistance to victims of natural calamity. It was not fair to pass instruction to stop disbursal of money to flood affected families in the city in the name of elections, he said. The SEC’s decision was unilateral, he said.

The SEC’s counsel G. Vidya Sagar argued that there were allegations that flood relief assistance was being given only to supporters of ruling party. Payment of cash at the time of elections was likely to influence voters. Stopping this for 10 days would not cause inconvenience to anyone, he said.

The bench observed that distribution of money, whatever be the purpose, was not correct. The SEC had stopped disbursal of money temporarily, not permanently, the bench said. The plea was posted to December 4 for next hearing.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 9:27:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/hc-declines-to-pass-orders-in-pil-plea-over-10000-assistance/article33173153.ece

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