M A I N   N E W S

Rs 1-cr dole to alma mater
SC notice to Punjab, Deputy CM Sukhbir
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Funds diverted
The petitioner has questioned Sukhbir Badal’s act of handing over a cheque for Rs 1 crore from funds allocated for the Punjab Nirman Programme to Sanawar school
Sukhbir announced the grant during his visit to the school for the 165th foundation day celebrations in 2012

New Delhi, November 1
The Supreme Court today issued notices to the Punjab Government and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal in a matter related to a dole of Rs 1 crore by Badal to his alma mater, Lawrence School, Sanawar, in Himachal Pradesh.

Taking up a special leave petition (SLP) challenging the January order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court that had refused to interfere in the issue citing “public purpose” related powers of state governments under Article 282 of the Constitution, the apex court Bench of Justice RM Lodha and Justice Shivketi Singh issued notices to five respondents, including Parveen Vashisht, Headmaster of the school in question.

The SLP filed by Sukhpal Singh Khaira, Punjab Congress spokesperson and original petitioner in the case, seeks the court’s ruling on whether the judiciary should refuse to interfere in a matter involving diversion of funds from duly approved state budgets at the whims of a Cabinet minister.

He has questioned Sukhbir Singh Badal’s act of handing over a cheque for Rs 1 crore from the funds allocated for the Punjab Nirman Programme in the budgetary plan to a rich, elite school which, under the petition, “charges students Rs 3.50 lakh in various kinds of fee annually”.

The petitioner states: “Whether Article 282 of the Constitution can be interpreted in a manner so as to permit wholly unjustified expenditure by an individual state minister in violation of budgetary allocations and whether a private donation at a minister’s personal choice constitute ‘public purpose’ under the definition of Article 282?”

The petition recalls the fact that the High Court while dismissing his PIL on January 16 ruled that the matter, on grounds of propriety, must be debated in the state legislature though the court itself would not like to interfere in it considering the state Assembly had ratified the payment.

“Without waiting for any discussion or approval of the state legislature, the said payment was made to the school concerned immediately upon the rejection of the PIL by the High Court,” states the petition.





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