Del HC | “No person in Delhi should go hungry by reason of present lockdown”; Food grains & cooked food being provided to both with ration cards or not

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of D.N. Patel, CJ and Prateek Jalan, J., addressed the concern with regard to providing ration to needy without any discrimination on the basis of ration card holders or non-holders.

Present petition pertained with regard to issuance of direction to respondents

  • to supply and provide the Corona Relief kit, food grains and food relief of the same level and status as given to ration card holders from 24th March, 2020 till operation of Disaster Management Act due to COVID19.
  • Ensure sufficient food grains, Corona relief kit be available at PDS Shops.
  • to produce the data, details and information in respect of Corona Relief Kit and 10 kg. food grains given to the Aadhar Card/Voter card holders and any other needy person.
  • to take the action against the arraying officials who have breach their duty for implementing the directions, orders, advisory, instruction given under the provisions of Disaster Management Act i.e. Section 55 and 56.”

Main Grievance

The primary grievance is with regard to discrimination being done by the respondents between ration card holders and non-ration card holders in providing Corona Relief Kits, Food grains/rice.

ASG, Sanjay Jain on behalf of GNCTD submitted that respondent 6 had filed an affidavit wherein it had been stated that there is no discrimination being done between the ration card holder and no-ration card holder.

Further it he added that, GNCTD had taken adequate steps to ensure that no one suffers from hunger/starvation in Delhi. In this regard, a special food relief initiative, i.e., “Mukhya Mantri Corona Sahayata Yojana” was launched to provide dry ration to all persons in need of food.

ASG further submitted that the eligible households under National Food Security Act, 2013 are divided into two categories, i.e., Priority Households and Antyodaya Anna Yojana households.

As per the Act, every person belonging to Priority Households are entitled to receive 5 Kg of food grains per person per month at subsidized prices and Households covered under Antoyodaya Anna Yojana will be entitled to receive 35 Kg of food grains.

ASG further submitted that under Mukhya Mantri Corona Sahayta Yojana, every Member of Parliament and Member of Legislative Assembly of Delhi have been provided with 2000 Emergency Food Relief Coupons which can be issue by them to the most vulnerable and poor persons in need of food but without both ration card and Aadhaar card and also in addition 20,000 similar coupons have also been made for Minister Food and Supply, Delhi. These coupons are provided to them on monthly basis.

Government is also running more than 1800 Hunger Relief Centers, where approximately 8 to 10 lakhs people are served lunch and dinner daily.

Furthermore, people who are for some reason are not able to avail the benefit of the dry ration or find the quantity of ration insufficient, and are in need of food, can get cooked meals at these Hunger Relief Centers which are being run by the State Government all across Delhi.

In order to cover non-PDS beneficiaries in need of food, under the recently announced “Atma Nirbhar Bharat” initiative of Government of India, provision of 5 kgs. of foodgrains per person per month, free of cost has been made to the migrants/ stranded migrants with a ceiling or 10% or total PDS beneficiaries in the state.

Decision

Bench on perusal of the above, observed that several steps had been taken by respondents to provide food grains and cooked food to public at large irrespective of having ration cards or not.

Thus, grievances ventilated by the petitioner about the discrimination between the ration card holders and others is not tenable as various schemes have been floated by the Centre and State along with Hunger Relief Centers.

Hence, lastly the Court stated that the schemes floated shall be scrupulously followed for the welfare of pubic at large and may continue even after the lockdown ends.

Respondents may also take steps to enhance the coverage or benefits of the schemes floated by them, to realise their objective that no person in Delhi should go hungry by reason of the present lockdown.

Petition was disposed of in the above view. [Nayee Soch Society v. MHA, WP(C) 3242 of 2020, decided on 02-06-2020]

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