In a significant legal development, a Special Leave Petition (SLP) has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of the ‘Mukhya Mantri Annadoot Yojna’, a scheme introduced by the Government of Madhya Pradesh. The scheme has raised concerns due to its impact on the allotment of transportation work to unemployed individuals, displacing the previous tender-based system. This article provides an in-depth breakdown of the key arguments presented in the SLP.
Article 14: Discrimination and Eligibility Criteria
The heart of the petitioners’ challenge lies in the argument that the eligibility criteria of the scheme, which are based on age and place of residence, lack a rational connection to the nature of the work involved. This, they contend, results in unjustified discrimination and runs afoul of Article 14 of the Indian Constitution, which ensures equality before the law.
Article 19(1)(g) Violation: The Right to Business
Another fundamental argument center’s on the assertion that the scheme infringes upon the petitioners’ fundamental right to engage in their business of transportation work, as guaranteed by Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution. The scheme’s impact on their ability to carry out their trade is a core concern for the petitioners.
Questioning Public Interest: Transparency and Allocation
The petitioners also raise a compelling challenge regarding the public interest aspect of the scheme. They contend that the alteration in the allocation process, veering away from a transparent tender process, places a heavier burden on the public exchequer. The absence of an open and competitive bidding process has led the petitioners to question the fairness and efficiency of the scheme.
High Court’s Dismissal: Constitutional Scrutiny Denied
The backdrop of the SLP includes the dismissal of the petitioners’ Writ Petitions by the High Court of Madhya Pradesh at Indore. The petitioners claim that their pleas were summarily dismissed without due consideration of the constitutional validity of the scheme. They assert that the High Court’s decision to categorize the scheme as a policy decision beyond judicial review undermines the constitutional framework.
Supreme Court’s Notice: Seeking Constitutional Clarity
The Supreme Court’s issuance of notice in response to the SLP underscores its commitment to upholding the principles of the Indian Constitution and ensuring that government actions are in line with legal and constitutional norms. The Court’s impending review of the arguments will shed light on the delicate balance between policy decisions and their constitutionality, offering guidance on the broader implications of such schemes and their potential impact on citizens’ rights and public interest.
Case Title: M/S OM SAI TRANSPORT SERVICES & ORS ETC v. THE STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH & ORS