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Reporter's Diary: There’s no refund for charity, Thalaivarey

The president elaborated that there was no compensation for the money he spent for food.

CHENNAI: As Tamil Nadu is a coastal State, it has seen plenty of natural calamities that include tsunamis, floods, and various cyclones. However, humanity played a huge role in the retention of normality, whether it was during Chennai Floods or in the innumerable cyclone that wreaked havoc in the State.

While this is the custom, a writ petition before the Madras High Court surprised everyone. A village panchayat president from Cuddalore submitted that he had spent around Rs 7.44 lakh for offering food to his villagers during Buruvei – a weak tropical cyclone in 2014. It was his contention that a Block Development Officer (BDO) in Kurinjippadi demanded he serve food to the locals.

The president elaborated that there was no compensation for the money he spent for food. Though he pointed out that the BDO asked him to offer food, the government advocate asserted that there was no communication in writing to urge the petitioner to provide.

Hearing arguments from both sides, Justice N Sathish Kumar ruled that merely on the basis of the BDO’s oral instructions, the Government cannot be mulched with liability to pay the amount. It also indicated that it was common for a president or influential persons in villages to offer food and other basic amenities to villagers during a calamity. He also asserted that it was not a matter of right to seek a refund from the government for serving food to his panchayat during a cyclone.

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