28 Dec 2022 3:30 AM GMT
The Madras High Court recently said that late disbursal of scholarship amount to the SC/ST defeats the constitutional purpose for which the Post Matric Scholarship Scheme has been formulated.The bench of Justice R Mahadevan and Justice Sathya Narayana Prasad was hearing a plea seeking directions for disbursal of the post-matric scholarship to SC/ST/SCA students of all colleges in Tamil Nadu...
The Madras High Court recently said that late disbursal of scholarship amount to the SC/ST defeats the constitutional purpose for which the Post Matric Scholarship Scheme has been formulated.
The bench of Justice R Mahadevan and Justice Sathya Narayana Prasad was hearing a plea seeking directions for disbursal of the post-matric scholarship to SC/ST/SCA students of all colleges in Tamil Nadu at the beginning of every academic year.
"We are of the view that the scholarship schemes formulated and implemented by the Central and State Governments are in pursuance of the Constitutional goals and they address the educational barriers faced by the students belonging to the SC/ST/STA and increase their enrolment ratios, enabling them to complete their education, without any financial hardship. While so, the non-disbursal of the scholarship amounts in time hits the achievement of these constitutional goals," said the court.
Taking note of difficulties being faced in implementing the scheme to disburse the scholarship amount in time, the court asked the authorities to consider constituting a task force with representatives from both union government and state government ministries.
"....we suggest the respondents to constitute a committee/task force with representatives of the State government, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and the Ministry of Tribal Affairs to identify the hiccups in effective implementation of the post-matric scholarship schemes from the forthcoming academic years and resolve the same, so as to ensure timely disbursement of the scholarship amount to the eligible students," said the court.
The petitioner, P Vedachalam, earlier submitted that due to the delay in the disbursement of the scholarship amount, several students - who were admitted under the free seat meant for SC/ST categories, were finding it difficult to continue their studies.
Even though the government had allocated a sum of Rs 623.50 crores through a policy note in the year 2015-16, the disbursement ratio was very poor, said the petition filed in 2016.
Highlighting the manner in which the funds are disbursed, Advocate SP Maharajan, Special Government Pleader submitted that with respect to Government and Government aided colleges, the maintenance allowance, and compulsory and non-refundable course fees are disbursed to the student's bank account directly.
With respect to self-finance colleges, the maintenance allowance is paid directly to the SB Account of the students and the course fee is disbursed to the respective institution through Electronic Clearing Service.
It was submitted that after admission, the institution concerned receives scholarship applications from eligible students along with all necessary documents. Upon receipt of the application, the institution has to register the application details online through department's website which are then scrutinised by the District Officers concerned and forwarded to the department for further processing.
After scrutiny, the Head of the Department disburses the amount through the Electronic Clearing Service. Thus, it was contended that the petition was filed without knowledge of the procedure involved and that the only delay was due to procedural and financial flaws.
Case Title: P Vedachalam v. The Principal Secretary, Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare Department and another
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Mad) 521
Case No: Writ Petition (MD) No. 22410 of 2016