Post-matric scholarship: HC show cause notice to Punjab chief secy for ‘willful disobedience’ of court orders
The Punjab and Haryana HC has issued a show cause notice of contempt to the Punjab chief secretary and director, department of social justice and empowerment of minorities, seeking a fresh compliance report from the state within 15 days on disbursal of funds meant for the post-matric scholarship.
The Punjab and Haryana high court has issued a show cause notice of contempt to the Punjab chief secretary and director, department of social justice and empowerment of minorities, seeking a fresh compliance report from the state within 15 days on disbursal of funds meant for the post-matric scholarship, failing which both would have to remain present in court on next date of hearing on March 27.
The high court bench of justice Arvind Sangwan acted on the contempt pleas filed in 2017 by some colleges in which it was alleged that court orders on the release of funds under post-matric scholarship have not been complied with.
It was in August 2013 that the high court had ordered that henceforth the amount of fees etc, which is paid by the central government to the state government on account of the fees of the eligible students under the scheme would be paid directly to the college and not to be deposited in the accounts of the eligible students. It was further directed that the dues of the colleges, which are still pending with the state government would be disbursed to colleges within a period of three months. However, as the state failed to comply with the order, the colleges moved the high court in 2017 and the matter is still pending adjudication.
The bench recorded that as per the successive affidavits, the payment has been made till the financial years 2016-17, 2020-21 and 2021-22. However, the payment for the financial years 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 have not been paid despite the admitted fact that the proportionate payment has already been made by the Centre to Punjab.
State’s counsel had told the court that the chief minister has announced on June 23, 2022, for undertaking an audit of the colleges. However, the bench observed that even after that eight months have passed. The affidavit of the director, development of social justice empowerment and minorities have been filed on January 23 and February 13 on the issue but do not explain why the payment has not been made.
“In view of the above, on the face of it, there is a willful disobedience of the direction issued by this court,” the bench recorded issuing show cause notice to the chief secretary and director, department of social justice to file afresh compliance affidavit within 15 days.