Don’t give things free if you can’t pay pension to AIDS

National News

Don’t give things free if you can’t pay pension to AIDS

New Delhi, Jan 9 : The Delhi government can provide free water and electricity to those who have roof over their heads but can’t afford to pay monthly pension to the poor suffering from AIDS, the Delhi High Court said today.

“Be realistic and reasonable. If you do not have money, then do not give things (like water and electricity) free to people,” a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said.

It said that poor people who were suffering from acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), were the ones who actually needed financial assistance, as they had families dependent on them.

The court said the amount of Rs 1,000, currently being paid per month to such people, was not even Rs 100 per day and asked the government to consider providing them minimum wages.

The bench was hearing a PIL initiated by it after receiving a letter from an AIDS victim, seeking enhancement of the Rs 1,000 pension he received to Rs 3,000.

Advocate Ajay Verma, appointed as amicus curiae by the court in the matter, told the bench that while states like Kerala and Gujarat had several schemes and benefits like free travel on public transport and access to subsidised food, Delhi had no such assistance to offer.

The Delhi government’s lawyer, Gautam Narayan, told the court that it was considering the issue.

The bench then asked the government to place the outcome of its consideration before the court on the next date of hearing on March 14.

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