The Centre on Monday opposed the Delhi government’s proposed scheme of home delivery of ration in the Delhi High Court and argued that fair price shops play an important role in implementation of the National Food Security Act (NFSA).
Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati termed fair price shops integral to the architecture of the NFSA and argued that a state is required to ensure execution of the law in a manner mandated under it.
The Centre has no role in selection of these fair price shops, the central government counsel added. Bhati said the state was free to provide benefits more than what is given under the NFSA but “cannot mitigate the benefits of NFSA”.
She told the court that other states are only planning pilot projects in particular areas before taking a decision.“You cannot destroy the infrastructure of shops and after six months realise it is not viable,” Bhati contended before the division bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh.
The submissions were made during the hearing of a petition filed by the Delhi Sarkari Ration Dealers Sangh challenging tenders issued towards implementation of the scheme. The scheme seeks to create a parallel mechanism for distribution of ration under the PDS scheme through private dealers at doorstep of people. The arguments in the case will continue on November 29.
The Supreme Court last week had refused to entertain the Centre’s petition challenging the HC order issued last month, which allowed the Delhi government to curtail supplies of existing fair price shop owners to divert the same for home delivery of ration. The apex court had noted that the case is still pending with the HC and requested the latter to decide the matter.