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Doorstep delivery of ration: Even if we have not stayed your scheme, your issues with Centre remains, HC tells Delhi govt

Meanwhile, the Union government submitted that it has challenged before the Supreme Court the HC order of last month, which allowed Delhi government to curtail the supplies of the existing fair price shop owners to divert the same for home delivery of ration.

Outside a ration shop. (Express Archive)

The Delhi High Court Wednesday said that Delhi government cannot challenge the Centre’s objection to its scheme for home delivery of ration “by a side wind” and clarified that even if it has not stayed the scheme, the same does not resolve the government’s issues with the Centre.

Meanwhile, the Union government submitted that it has challenged before the Supreme Court the HC order of last month, which allowed Delhi government to curtail the supplies of the existing fair price shop owners to divert the same for home delivery of ration.

The division bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh said that it seems the Delhi government wants a “stamp of approval” from the court, even when the issue of conflict between the Centre and Delhi government is not before it. Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the Delhi government, earlier submitted that the court should clarify that there is no stay and that there should be implementation.

However, the court said that it has already clarified that there is no stay. It further said that the implementation apparently is stuck because of the issue between Delhi government and Centre. We are not concerned with the issue in the petition before us, added the court.

“Assuming that this petition is dismissed, your problem… which you are facing, the issue between Union of India and GNCTD does not get resolved; that is not an issue before us, that has not been brought before us. Whenever it is brought, we will look at it,” observed the court.

The court made the observations while hearing a petition filed by the Delhi Sarkari Ration Dealers Sangh challenging the tenders issued towards implementation of the scheme on home delivery of ration, which seeks to create a parallel mechanism for distribution of rations under the PDS scheme through private dealers at the doorstep of people.

The Delhi government, through an application on Wednesday, sought modification of an earlier court direction asking it to share details of beneficiaries who have opted for doorstep delivery of ration with fair price shop holders. The government said that the data will be misused and efforts through posters and pamphlets were already on to spread “false rumours and incorrect information” among the beneficiaries.

However, the court said that the FPS licensees already may have the basic data about families and the other information like Aadhaar details can be redacted before disclosure. “We are not even asking you to give any confidential information. You can always redact,” it said.

The court last month allowed Delhi government to divert the ration for home delivery after it was told that “an overwhelming majority” has opted for supply of ration at their doorstep.

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