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Badal's largesse to Sanawar school gets SC notice

IANS  Chandigarh, November 01, 2013
First Published: 12:40 IST(1/11/2013) | Last Updated: 00:25 IST(2/11/2013)

The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal for giving Rs. 1 crore from government funds to his alma mater, Lawrence School, Sanawar. 

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Punjab Congress leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira, who moved the special leave petition before the Supreme Court, said the notice was issued by a bench of Justice RM Lodha and Justice Shivketi Singh.

The court also served a notice to the school principal. 

"The grant was given out of Punjab Nirman funds earmarked for the development of the state. The larger legal point under challenge is, whether a state government can dole out grants to extremely well off and financially sound posh public schools, situated out of the territory of Punjab and from the funds of the public exchequer," Khaira said in a statement here. 

Badal gave a cheque for Rs. 1 crore to the institution in October 2012 during the annual founders' day when he was invited there as the chief guest. 

While Badal made a big spectacle of his visit, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah, who was also present at the founders' day function last year and is more high profile and enjoys maximum security, kept a low profile during his visit to the school campus. 

The opposition Congress leaders accused Badal of "squandering tax-payers' money". 

The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal justified the dole, saying that "this was done for a school of national heritage importance in Himachal Pradesh".  Sukhbir Badal studied in the elite boarding school till 1980. 

Objecting to Badal giving official funds to a rich private institution, Khaira earlier questioned: "Why doesn't he give the grant from his profits from running his five-star hotel and buses business? Why is public money being given to an elitist school in another state?"

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