Supreme Court: A bench headed by SA Bobde, CJ has granted four weeks time to states and Union Territories to respond on a plea alleging death by starvation of persons due to denial of ration over problems in Aadhaar linkage with ration cards. The Court noted that most of the States and Union Territories have not filed their response on the plea and asked them to submit their response. The court was informed that only Jharkhand, Nagaland, and Tamil Nadu have filed the reply in the case.
Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the petitioner, contended that Aadhaar linkage has resulted in 2.33 crore cancellation of ration cards between the years 2013 and 2016. Earlier, the Court had sought a response from the States on whether a person being denied rations over Aadhaar linkage.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made a statement that 3 crores cards have been cancelled, Gonsalves argued, adding that 85 per cent cards were wrongly cancelled according to a recent survey. The petition was filed on behalf of the mother Koili Devi and sister Gudiya Devi of Santoshi, an 11-year-old girl from Simdega, Karimati in Jharkhand who died of starvation on September 28, 2017.
The petition highlighted that Santoshi’s death was due to the cancellation of her poor Dalit family’s ration card since it had not been linked to their Aadhaar card. Their rations had been stopped from March 2017, because of which, the entire family had been starving. On the day of Santoshi’s death, her mother served her some tea and salt – the only two things they had left. Later that night, Santoshi died, the plea said. Gonsalves has contended that in many states, the “notification is there but when tribals go to the centres there is no ration.”