Mumbai: The Bombay High Court suggested that the Maharashtra government should consider permitting farmers affected by unseasonal hailstorms in several districts to open bank accounts on the basis of their Aadhar cards alone.
A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice M S Sanklecha made this suggestion to facilitate affected farmers to avail of government monetary relief.
The suggestion was made after the bench heard a public interest litigation filed by two farmers from Solapur district seeking a direction to the Centre and the state government to disburse relief to farmers hit by unseasonal hailstorms last month.
The Maharashtra government informed the court that it had made a total disbursement of Rs 1400 crore to over 15 lakh farmers and the money was transferred to their bank accounts.
However, the petitioners argued that several farmers who do not have bank accounts are still in the lurch.
It was then, that the court suggested that farmers should be allowed to open bank accounts easily and not be made to submit a range of documents to avail of government relief, during times of calamity.
“Farmers should be allowed to open bank accounts with only Aadhar cards as identification.
The whole point of issuing Aadhar cards was that no other document would be required,” the court said.
The court also directed the Maharashtra government and the central government to submit a report by May 5, about fund disbursement and steps taken for farmers’ welfare. The court will hear the matter on May 7.
“The state government will submit a report about the disbursement and other steps taken so far. The central government too should file a report about steps taken to allocate and release funds for farmers in Maharashtra,” the court said.
The central government informed the court today, that it has approved Rs 865 crore as relief, out of which Rs 685 crore has already been released.