Kerala HC sets aside EC order on rice scheme

Last Updated: Monday, March 21, 2011 - 21:37

Kochi: In a relief to CPI(M)-led LDF in the
run up to the April 13 Kerala assembly polls, the High Court
today set aside the Election Commission order restraining it
from extending the scheme to distribute rice at Rs 2 per kg to
fresh beneficiaries, holding it as "wholly arbitrary".

The EC decision to defer the implementation of the
government decision was "unnconnected" with purposes sought to
be achieved by the Commission for securing a level-playing
field for all political parties, a division bench ruled.
The bench, comprising Chief Justice J Chelemeswar and
Justice P R Ramachandra Menon, which passed a 28-page order,
allowed a petition filed by Rajaji Mathew, a CPI MLA,
challenging the EC decision.

"We are of the opinion that such a decision interdicts
the decision of the state which is within the jurisdiction and
authority of the state as conferred by the constitution", the
court said.

"The activity of the state was combining the official
activity the state i.e., the implementation of its policy.
There is no political propaganda in it", the bench said.
The EC had submitted it was not against providing rice at
Rs 2 per kg to BPL-APL families but had only restrained the
identification of fresh beneficiaries and extending the scheme
to the beneficiaries who were yet to be identified.

"What has been restrained is the actual identification of
new beneficiaries. Hasty processing and identification of
beneficiaries on the basis of the government order issued just
a few days before the April 13 assembly elections has given
room for several complaints", the Commission had argued.

The Commission had told the court that its objection was
to the implementation of the modification in criteria on the
eve of the election and the selection of fresh beneficieries
under the scheme after the polls were announced.


First Published: Monday, March 21, 2011 - 21:37
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