करंट टॉपिक्स

Mariyakutty is ‘VIP’ and should be given pension, says Kerala High Court

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Grave blow to Pinarayi Government’s luxuries and nepotistic regime from HC

Kerala (VSK).

On December 22, the second day of the Court proceedings in connection with the 85 years old Mariyakkutty’s petition pertaining to the non-payment of her widow pension, Kerala High Court (HC) gave a tough time to the Government of Kerala Counsel. Court strongly objected to the government counsel’s allegation that Mariyakkutty’s petition was politically motivated and Govt cannot give pension to Mariyakkutty alone. HC said, insulting Mariyakkutty was heartbreaking. Justice Devan Ramachandran asked the government counsel to withdraw it lest it would be recorded. At one point of time, Court said, if it is necessary, HC would have to appoint an amicus-curiae. Then the counsel withdrew the comment.

When the government counsel got angry with the Court stating that it (Court) issues orders to the government. Court said that the statement was too unfortunate. He told that none should believe that whatever they see or read in social media is genuine. Justice Devan Ramachandran said, he is not afraid of anything when he writes the order.

When the state government counsel stated that Mariyakkutty gets helps from others and then why did she move the HC, Mariyakkutty’s counsel said that her client does not need anyone’s free aid.

Justice Devan Ramachandran declared that taking into consideration the pathetic conditions of the people like Mariyakkutty, he would not participate in any X-mas celebrations this year. Court said that it can do the needful, if Mariyakkuktty needs, for assisting her to approach District Legal Services Authority.

Mariyakkutty’s counsel said, she alone does not need pension. She stands for several lakhs of others. Her counsel also asked about various cesses government collects; where does they go? Counsel was indirectly wondering why do government not using those monies for paying pensions.

Justice Devan Ramachandran said that government should pay the pension otherwise the government should bear the expenses of Mariyakkutty for three months. HC did observe that 85 years old Mariyakkutty approached the Court as she had no other income to spend for medicines, food and electricity. The government has money to spend for lot of things. Court wondered, if not government, who is going to solve the petitioner’s problems. She is a senior citizen. She is asking only for Rs 1,600. Why do people like Mariyakkutty not getting priority.

The Government’s counsel submitted that pension remains suspended due to financial crisis and due to non-receipt of central share. But Court did not appear to be accepting that argument. Court asked if Government had cancelled any of its programme due to financial crisis. If the Government can spend monies for Nava Kerala Sadas, they should not claim that lack of funds is the reason for the non-payment of pensions. Court was emphasizing the significance of the payment of the pensions. About 45 lakhs of elderly people are not getting the widow pension.

Court added that Mariyakkutty is a VIP who moved the Court as she had no income to live. Justice Devan Ramchandran said, Court considers the issue in this manner. Court has to stand with the citizen. Rs 1,600 could be a silly amount for the government, but is huge for Mariyakkutty. Government was asked by the Court to advise its decision, on December 22, regarding the payment of widow pension to Mariyakkutty.

Eighty-five years old Mariyakkutty and Annamma were found begging with earthen pots in Adimaly town, Idukki district, on November 8, 2023. Annamma was holding a hand-written placard stating “Disburse the window pension dues. Show justice to the poor. Don’t steal from the pots of the poor. No money for paying electricity bills”.

Mariayakkuty from Ponooduthupara near Koobanpara and Annamma from Polinjapalam Thanikkuzhi, 200 acre in Admimali, Indukki, are two among lakhs of underprivileged ones in the state. Government’s social security and widow pensions are the only means of their bread and butter. Since the state government’s welfare pensions are not disbursed for the last several months together, both elderly women opted to beg as their protest. They used to make bamboo products for their livelihood. Pensions are supposed to be disbursed through local self-government bodies once the government releases the funds.

Both elderly women had said that they were unable to buy food and medicines and pay their electricity bills. Their husbands are no more. The earthen pots were given to them, free of cost, by someone. They were begging from the shopkeepers, auto drivers and government employees. The first day, they got Rs 1200. They said, it was enough for them to buy medicines and to pay electricity bills.

Meanwhile pro-government people propagated that Mairyakutty was not poor, she owned lands and her daughter was working abroad. It was carried by Deshabhimani, the Malayalam mouthpiece of CPM in Kerala. But, within no time, this propaganda was proved to be false. Then Deshabhimani was left with no other option than withdrawing the news and carrying regret, because, Mariyakkutty stated that she was going for legal actions against the CPM media.

The HC order is another blow to the government. Government keeps on complaining about the financial crisis when the aforementioned essential payments are asked for. But, as the HC rightly said, government does not shy off from luxuries. It is extravagance that can be seen in all governmental activities. The luxury bus being used to carry the entire Cabinet or the Nava Kerala Sadas reportedly costs Rs 1.05 cr. How much money in crores have been spent so far for the Sadas is still unknown. How much money LDF (CPM-led Left Democratic Front) government got as sponsorship, how much spent and how were they spent, these questions still remain to be answered. And, none knows many grievances, out of lakhs, have been solved. This journal has, in the past, reported several examples of the government’s luxuries.

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