Apex court stays Rs.2 rice scheme

In a major setback to the Left Front government in Kerala, the Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday put a stay on the extension of the Rs.2-per-kg rice scheme to all the ration card holders.

The SC accepted the Election Commission’s plea that the scheme has disturbed the delicate balance of “level play” during the ongoing election process.

As the Kerala High Court had given a go ahead to the Left Front government’s decision of February 25, extending the scheme to all ration cardholders subject to certain conditions, a bench of Justices Altamas Kabir and Cyriac Joseph, in an interim direction, stayed the HC’s order.

Since the SC found a lot of weight in the arguments of Kerala’s counsel, Mr L. Nageshwar Rao, that the EC neither under Articles 324, 327, 328 of the Constitution (from where it draws its powers), nor under the Representation of People Act has any authority to stall the implementation of any welfare schemes of the government if announced well before the announcement of election dates, the poll panel’s petition was admitted for detailed hearing to declare the correct position of the law.

The EC made a plea that it was not against the extension of the scheme but only wanted its deferment till the end of elections.

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