In order to ensure that discretionary grants of the Punjab chief minister, deputy chief minister, cabinet ministers and chief parliamentary secretaries are not misused by beneficiaries, the Punjab and Haryana high court has directed the state to follow the revised state policy issued on July 9.
The court, while disposing of a public interest litigation filed by advocate HC Arora, also directed that any person convicted for criminal offence shall not be entitled to any such discretionary grant. It added that a sanction letter from the authority concerned should accompany applications for sanction of grant by the beneficiary for the construction of room/building in case the proposed building is situated within the municipal limits.
Any person can submit an application for sanction of grant to the minister concerned or the secretary of the ministry concerned, which shall be considered on merit, the court ordered.
However, the state government, in its reply submitted in the court on Wednesday, said cheques issued under the discretionary grants scheme would be accompanied by a sanction letter indicating the terms and conditions for the grant.
It was also submitted that a copy of the policy of discretionary grants sanction would be posted on the website of the department of rural development and panchayats for the information of all.
The petitioner had brought to the court's notice that discretionary grants were being issued by ministers in Punjab without any effective safeguard against misuse.