The state government got an earful from the Bombay High Court on Wednesday for not filing an affidavit in a public interest litigation on time.
Irked by the lackadaisical attitude of government officers in replying to a PIL alleging irregularities in disbursement of relief package offered by the Prime Minister for Vidarbha farmers, the high court has given one last warning to the officers concerned.
If the officers do not reply on time, the high court would impose cost which the officers would have to pay.
Justice F I Rebello said: “We are going to make it clear, that in future this kind of attitude will not be tolerated. We propose to impose heavy cost on the officer concerned, if they fail to file an affidavit after seeking an adjournment they will have to pay the cost from their own pocket.”
On earlier two occasions, government pleader had sought time to reply to the PIL filed by city-based NGO Janhit Manch alleging irregularities in disbursing aid meant for families of suicide affected farmers and for farmers who fall below the poverty line.
On Wednesday, the court was irked after the additional government pleader once again sought more time to file the affidavit.
Pointing out that the government had taken time earlier too, Justice Rebello said: “If this happens we will impose heavy cost on the officer concerned.”
Janhit Manch has alleged that the special financial package announced by the PM in September, 2008, for benefit of the farmers in Vidarbha did not reach the beneficiaries. The NGO alleged that the aid was claimed by well-to-do farmers.
Of the total beneficiaries of 10,637 families, only 2,924 families appears to be the real beneficiary of this special package, alleges PIL.
The PIL prays that the HC should direct the government and the animal husbandry department — which are responsible for disbursing the aid — to ensure that the aid reaches the needy farmers and their families.
A division bench of Justice Rebello and Justice Amjad Sayed will hear the matter after two weeks.