Noticing that the Punjab government had failed in the timely disbursement of payments on account of the post-matric scholarship for Scheduled Caste students, pending since 2007-08, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday said there was no use of making such schemes on paper.
“If you cannot implement it, don’t make such schemes only for populism,” said chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul while hearing a public interest litigation filed by the Association of Volunteers for Students’ Rights (AVSR), Chandigarh.
The court further observed, “The very objective of such a welfare scheme is made illusionary by not disbursing the funds at the relevant stage of time. If the state government is not interested or incapable of implementing the scheme, it must say so instead of only making the scheme on paper and then not providing funds to the beneficiaries entitled to it.”
The court has thus granted six weeks’ time to the Punjab government to provide data for each financial year, university-wise, as to how many claims are still pending for disbursement, making it clear that within this time the state should also make efforts for the disbursement of payments.
The state government has sent an anticipated proposal for 2014-15, amounting to Rs 360.13 crore, for benefiting 2.37 lakh Scheduled Caste (SC) students to the union ministry of social justice and empowerment for approval and release of central assistance to the tune of Rs 299.34 crore, the court was informed by Paramjit Singh, director, welfare of Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes.
At the same time, the court was told by Lovely Professional University (near Jalandhar) that its Rs 1.79 crore under the scheme was still pending for release from the welfare officer, Chandigarh, even including the 2007-08 academic session.
The petitioner association had sought directions to the Punjab government to strictly implement the post-matric scholarship scheme. The Centre had come out with the scheme, as per which SC students whose parents’ income does not exceed Rs 2 lakh per annum, are eligible for scholarship after matriculation.
The case would now come up for hearing on September 26.