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Plea in Delhi HC seeking direction to extend benefits of PMUY scheme to eligible non-Ujjwala subscribers
New Delhi: A petition has been moved in the Delhi High Court seeking direction to the Union of India to conduct an identification exercise qua non-Ujjwala subscribers that are eligible for the beneficial scheme introduced under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) on May 21 last year and extend the benefits to the eligible people after said identification from the beginning of the financial year 2022-23.
The plea challenges the constitutional validity of the beneficial scheme introduced under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (LPG Cashback) in view of the financial hardships being faced by the poor people after the global crude prices surge due to the Russia-Ukraine war. The Petition challenge is limited to the Cash Transfers made under the LPG Cashback qua the Provision of Rs 200 Transfer to a Bank Account per cylinder refill for upto 12 cylinders in FY2022-23, exclusively to customers under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY).
The Division Bench headed by Chief Justice of Delhi Satish Chander Sharma also comprising Justice Subramonium Prasad on Wednesday after hearing the submissions of Petitioner Akash Goel said that the matter is to be heard with the connected petition on February 13, 2023.
Petition submitted that the said scheme is manifestly arbitrary, exclusionary and discriminatory as it excludes from its ambit the below-poverty-line families who are not subscribers of the Ujjwala scheme that was introduced in 2016 and thereby is violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.
The plea further stated that the Scheme guidelines at the time of bringing about the Ujjwala scheme contemplated the provision of free LPG connection by Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) to families belonging to the below poverty line (BPL) category.
The plea also stated that as per the guidelines, any family belonging to a BPL household that did not have access to an LPG connection at the start of the Ujjwala Scheme was eligible to apply for a new LPG connection. A bare perusal of the aforementioned guideline clearly shows that the Ujjwala Scheme excluded families of BPL households who already had an LPG connection at the time when the Ujjwala Scheme was to be brought into effect. This was correctly done by the Respondent at the time of introducing the Ujjwala.
The scheme was in order to provide LPG connections to households where there were none. However, this does not alter the fact that there was a large portion of BPL households that were not eligible under the Ujjwala Scheme for LPG connections, read the plea.
It is submitted that whether a BPL family is a subscriber of the Ujjwala Scheme or not could not have been taken as the criteria for deciding the eligibility of BPL households while granting Rs 200 transfers under the LPG Cashback.
"Such a classification, it is submitted, is arbitrary, exclusionary, discriminatory and illegal," the plea added. (ANI)