Chandigarh, May 26
More than three months after a show-cause notice was issued to the Punjab Chief Secretary (CS) and another functionary in a matter pertaining to the post-matric scholarship scheme for Scheduled Caste students, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has made it clear that the officer would have to be present in person in case 40 per cent of the scholarship amount is not paid by the next date of hearing.
Petitions filed a decade ago
The case has its genesis in a bunch of petitions filed by educational institutions a decade ago. The petitioners, among other things, had contended that colleges/institutions, under the post-matric scholarship scheme, were not to charge tuition and non-refundable compulsory fee from eligible students.
Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan fixed July 4 as the next date of hearing. Appearing before the Bench earlier this month, the state counsel had stated on instructions from the Director, Department of Social Justice and Empowerment Minorities, that the payment for scholarships would be made within three weeks.
As the case came up for resumed hearing before Justice Sangwan’s Bench, the counsel for the petitioners referred to the previous orders before submitting that the show-cause notice was issued to the Chief Secretary “for giving explanation regarding the payment” on February 17. But till date, the payment had not been made and the respondents were delaying the same on one pretext or the other.
The case has its genesis in a bunch of petitions filed by educational institutions a decade ago. The petitioners, among other things, had contended that colleges/institutions, under the post-matric scholarship scheme, were not to charge tuition and non-refundable compulsory fee from eligible students. The amount was to be recovered by institutions from the state government department concerned.
It was added that the reimbursement was given on a monthly or immediate basis. Many students finished their courses and left colleges, leaving petitioner-institutions high and dry as these could not recover fee from them.
Taking up the matter, the Bench in August 2013 directed that the amount sanctioned by the Central Government to the state government on account of eligible students’ fee under the scheme would be paid directly to the college concerned. It would not to be deposited in eligible students’ account. The Bench then set a three-month deadline for the disbursal of the reimbursement and relevant fee to colleges.
Acting on petitions alleging contempt of the court filed by institutes through counsel Sameer Sachdeva, Amitabh Tewari and Ajaivir Singh, Justice Sangwan had subsequently observed that successive set of affidavits showed that payment was made to petitioners till financial years 2016-17, 2020-21 and 2021-22. But payment for financial years 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 was still pending.
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