The public hearing by a chief judicial magistrate (CJM) at Kot Sukhia village in this district has done much more than just exposing the swindling of public money from the central and state schemes.
The chairman of the Punjab legal service authority (PLSA) has directed all district sessions judges in the state to organise similar awareness camps and public hearings to detect the misappropriation of pension and other money meant for the rural masses.
The CJM's public hearing was held during a legal-awareness camp. Once the CJM questioned the villagers of Kot Sukhia, he knew they were not getting any benefit of the old-age pension, national job guarantee, below poverty line (BPL) and other social welfare schemes. Many of the cheated villagers are illiterate and poor.
The CJM found that the sarpanches had retained the pension released under the BPL scheme. After the CJM's intervention, 52 people got their pension on the spot. The names of many illegal beneficiaries were struck off the pension roll.
In a letter on February 28 to all district and sessions judges, the PLSA chairman had told them about this legal-awareness camp and public hearing in Faridkot. Besides detecting misappropriation of old-age pension scheme money, the CJM had found families drawing pension in the name of relatives who were dead for years.