SC notice to Odisha over KALIA scheme

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today issued notices to the Union government, Chief Election Commissioner, and state governments including Odisha over launch of direct cash transfer benefit schemes to farmers, ahead of the recently-concluded elections.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi issued notices to the Election Commission, Union of India, State of Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Telangana and Odisha while directing them to file their reply in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Dr Pentapati Pulla Rao.

“When competitors are strong, giving away money to farmers, labourers etc to lure them prior to elections are not fair. We have filed a petition to declare the direct cash transfer benefit schemes illegal and frame guidelines regarding this. There should be a gap of at least six months before the conduct of elections. The Supreme Court has accepted our petition. This is another step towards electoral reforms,” said petitioner’s counsel Sravan Kumar.

The petitioner questioned the constitutional validity of the schemes launched just ahead of the elections.

“The system has become corrupt. Several states including the Union government has transferred money in the account of farmers promising to pay further amount post elections. We have filed a petition to fight the corrupt system. The governments are buying votes,” P Pulla Rao said.

The petitioner further alleged that Odisha launched KALIA, Andhra Pradesh –Rythu Bandhu, Centre –PM KISAN and similar schemes in West Bengal, Jharkhand and Telangana were launched to influence the voters.

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