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Wednesday, July 06, 2022

High Court allows petition against Delhi government’s ration home delivery plan

After a bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh allows the petition, the AAP government's counsel says the scheme cannot be implemented at present. The Centre had supported the Delhi Sarkari Ration Dealers Sangh’s petition.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: May 19, 2022 3:46:48 pm
A queue outside a ration distribution centre in Sangam Vihar on Thursday. (Express Photo: Gajendra Yadav)

The Delhi High Court on Thursday put brakes on the Delhi government’s scheme for the home delivery of ration as it allowed the Delhi Sarkari Ration Dealers Sangh’s petition against the proposed parallel mechanism for using private dealers to deliver rations under the Public Distribution System at people’s doorsteps.

A bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh allowed the petition. “They have allowed the writ petition so therefore the effect is that the scheme cannot be implemented at present,” said the counsel who argued the case for the state government.

The Centre last year supported the plea of ration shop licensees and opposed the Delhi government’s proposed home delivery scheme for rations under the Mukhya Mantri Ghar Ghar Ration Yojna. It had argued that the fair-price shops play an important role in the implementation of the National Food Security Act. Additional solicitor-general Aishwarya Bhati had argued that a state was required to ensure the execution of the National Food Security Act in a manner mandated under it. The Centre has no role in the selection of the fair-price shops, Bhati had contended.

Bhati had also said the state was free to provide benefits more than what is given under the law but “cannot mitigate the benefits of NFSA”.

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Defending its scheme of home delivery of ration, the Delhi government had argued that “politics has taken over the public interest” and termed the objections against it a “camouflage” and “egotistic”. Terming it a progressive scheme, the government said there was no explicit prohibition against it under the National Food Security Act.

“It would require a very very strange legislation to suggest that in this time for the last two years of doorstep delivery of almost anything and everything, be it Amazon or non-Amazon, be it food articles like Swiggy or other deliveries, your lordship is told that the ration delivery to the deserving and the entitled should not be done by this methodology,” senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi had said arguing for the state government.

Terming the petition filed by Delhi Sarkari Ration Dealers Sangh as proxy litigation, the AAP government also contended that while the NFSA was a central law, it was premised upon the operational work being handled by state governments and not the Centre.

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