The first bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy said: “It appears that the State provided assistance of Rs 4,000 to rice cardholders in 2021, but the assistance to differently-abled was limited to Rs 1,000.” Seeking the State to offer a fresh consideration, both as to the quantum of the assistance and the mode of reaching the assistance to the right people, the bench said: “The earmarked amount of about Rs 133 crore has to be disbursed and if it is discovered that the number of differently-abled is substantially less than the 13.35 lakh figure that is shown in the database, it will only permit such earmarked sum to be distributed to the lesser number of persons with disabilities such that each person receives substantially more than Rs 1,000.”
Further, pointing out that visually challenged have not been categorised as a group, the bench said: “There are several anomalies indicated in the State’s reports and documents. Though the number of differently-abled in the State is recorded to be in excess of 13.35 lakh, the State says that in several cases there are duplicate registrations; deaths are not reported; and, several differently-abled persons do not apply to obtain any assistance.”
“It is also evident that a recent drive has started to link such persons with their Aadhaar cards, the exercise has not been completed. The latest status report reveals that about 3.15 lakh registrations in such regard have thus far been generated,” the bench said. “For a start, it appears to be disturbing that the State does not have accurate figures in such regard. Secondly, Section 24 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 requires differently-abled to be provided somewhat more of assistance than others are,” the bench added.