Court seeks explanation on rice scheme stoppage

March 16th, 2011 - 5:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, March 16 (IANS) The Kerala High Court Wednesday asked the Election Commission to explain why it halted the sale of rice at Rs.2 a kilo after the assembly elections were announced.

The bench headed by Chief Justice J. Chalameshwar gave the direction on a petition filed by Communist Party of India (CPI) legislator Rajaji Mathew Thomas.

Thomas said Wednesday that he had been informed by his counsel that the court directed the election panel to respond Friday.

“The bench expressed doubts if the Election Commission can go ahead with such a direction to stop an ongoing programme,” added Thomas.

The Election Commission said the sale of rice at Rs.2 a kilo violated the model code of conduct that came into force March 1.

“This is not a new scheme. The cabinet cleared it Feb 23, Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan announced it the next day and the orders were given Feb 25. The model code came into effect only March 1,” Thomas pointed out.

The government has accused the Congress-led opposition of scuttling an innovative programme meant for all ration card holders.

Hitherto the rice for Rs.2 scheme was available only to card holders who were officially deemed poor.

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