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Judiciary

TN files plea in SC for release of disaster relief fund

By Jhanak Singh      03 April, 2024 03:51 PM      0 Comments
TN files plea in SC for release of disaster relief fund

NEW DELHI: After Karnataka, Tamil Nadu has filed a plea in the Supreme Court for a direction to the Centre to release Rs 19,692.69 Cr as financial assistance to the southern state for the damage caused by cyclone “Michaung” in December 2023.

The M K Stalin government contended despite several requests funds were not made available in violation of fundamental rights of the affected people.

The Karnataka's Congress government had earlier filed a similar plea for release Rs 35,162 Cr for drought relief. Kerala ruled by the LDF also filed a petition questioning the borrowing limits by the Centre.

In an original suit filed through the Chief Secretary, the DMK government sought a direction to consider a representation by the state made on December 14, 2023 submitted through the Inter-Ministerial Central Team, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. It sought release of Rs 2000 Cr as interim measure.

"The inaction on the part of the Government of India to act on the reports and take a final decision to release financial assistance to the State is ex-facie illegal, arbitrary and violative of fundamental rights guaranteed to its citizens under Article 14 and Article 21 of the Constitution of India," it said.

The suit was filed under Article 131 of the Constitution through senior advocate P Wilson and standing counsel D Kumanan.

The state government asked the court to direct the Centre to also consider the representation made on December 26, 2023 to Union Finance Minister, regarding release of a sum of Rs 18,214.52 Cr as financial assistance for the damage caused by the unprecedented and extremely heavy rainfall in southern districts of Tamil Nadu on December 17-18 2023, within a time frame.

It contended the IMCT visited Cyclone-affected districts and the flood-affected southern districts and made a comprehensive assessment of the situation in the State.

However, the Union Government has not taken a final decision on the assistance to the State from the National Disaster Response Fund even after a lapse of almost three months from the date of submission of memoranda, it contended.

"The inordinate delay hampers the state development and causes mental agony and hardships to the people who have suffered the severe natural calamities and who are expecting the relief measures," it said.

The state also claimed there is no valid reason or justification to delay the disbursement of funds to the plaintiff State when all the required formalities are fulfilled as per the guidelines and the National Disaster Management Act 2005.

"The Plaintiff State is being treated unfairly by the Defendants for not releasing the NDRF despite being assessed by the experts, IMCT, and sub-committee of National Executive Committee," the plea said.

"The differential treatment in the release of funds in comparison to other states is tantamount to class discrimination. It violates the fundamental rights of those who have suffered due to calamities and faced greater hardships and irreparable losses. This step-motherly treatment violates the National Disaster Management Policy, including financial relations and the federal nature of tax division by unfairly allocating funds to some states over others," 

it said.

 



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