The Delhi High Court Monday expressed anguish over the failure on part of the Delhi government in implementing its previous “clear cut” directions that “no citizen currently residing in Delhi should go hungry”.
“We express our disappointment and dismay,” a bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Talwant Singh said, after noting that the orders passed to the Delhi government by the court on April 27 and May 6, has not been implemented in “letter and spirit”.
The bench reiterated its previous orders and observed that the objective sought to be achieved in that regard remains unfilled, therefore, the Delhi government should immediately ensure that the food grains are distributed to poor, needy and marginalised non-PDS residents from the Public Distribution System (PDS), as well as, other distribution centres.
The bench also observed that the e-coupon system was not appropriate as it was inaccessible for people.
It directed the Secretary-cum-Commissioner, Head of Department, Food Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department of the Delhi government, to file a detailed compliance report within four days, clearly expressing the mode and manner in which the court’s April 27 and May 6 directions have been implemented.
The court listed the matter for further hearing on May 26.
It sought the compliance report after the petitioner, Delhi Rozi-Roti Adhikar Abhiyan (DRRAA), pointed out that the system adopted by the government of issuing e-coupons to those who do not have ration cards was inaccessible to the most vulnerable as it required a smartphone, ability to use the internet, generate OTP, upload photos of the family and a copy of the Aadhaar card and finally to download the e-coupon.
Further, it highlighted that the complaint helplines numbers — 1967 and 1800110841 — designated by the Delhi government were also inaccessible, and that despite the orders of the court, volunteers of DRRAA had found many ration shops to be shut during working hours.
The plea by DRRAA sought urgent need for transparency in the distribution of food grains through PDS and other mechanisms like e-coupons to ensure that people do not go hungry during the lockdown.
The bench, in its previous order, had directed the Delhi government to ensure that all ration shops disbursing food grains are open during working hours from 9 am -1 pm and 3 pm-7 pm on all seven days.
Besides other directions, it had said the Delhi government should install complaint boxes at all ration shops and non-PDS distribution centres.
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