The Delhi High Court today said it will ensure that nobody sleeps hungry in the national capital and everyone gets ration. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar made the observation after it was informed that some slum dwellers in south Delhi were facing difficulty in getting subsidised foodgrains under the public distribution system (PDS) due to the lack of Aadhaar cards.
To this, the bench asked the petitioner NGO and the authorities concerned to suggest a mechanism which does not have human intervention which creates problem. “You tell us how to regulate functioning of fair price shops. We will ensure and facilitate ration to everybody in Delhi. We will ensure Aadhaar to everyone. You tell us what problem they are facing. We will ensure that nobody sleeps hungry in Delhi,” the bench said.
“Unless you change mindset and the working in the system, things cannot be regulated. We want to know who has not got ration and why,” it said.
The court was hearing a petition by an NGO, Delhi Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyan, which seeks disbursal of subsidised foodgrains to the beneficiaries under the national food security act (NFSA) without Aadhaar cards.
Under the NFSA, rolled out across the country in November last year, five kgs of foodgrains per person is to be provided each month at a price of Rs 1-3 per kg to over 80 crore people.
During the hearing, the bench was informed by UIDAI counsel Zohab Hussain, who was earlier appointed as a local commissioner, that functioning of fair price shops requires close scrutiny and monitoring as when he had visited the area, he had found various such shops closed during day time.
The court asked the NGO, counsel for Delhi government and a local commissioner to list out the difficulties faced by people regarding access to the fair price system and posted the matter for September 19. It also asked the Delhi government to file a status report on several issues before November 7.
The Centre had earlier told the court that Aadhaar was made mandatory to ensure that the poor get subsidised foodgrains under the PDS. Terming PDS as a “misused system”, it had said that through Aadhaar, the endeavour was to ensure that the real beneficiaries get foodgrains.
Aadhaar is a 12-digit unique identification number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) after collecting biometric data of the citizens.
The PIL has sought quashing of the Centre’s February 8 notification making Aadhaar mandatory for availing benefits under the NFSA. The notification came into effect from February 8 in all states and UTs, except Assam, Meghalaya and Jammu and Kashmir. The petition said the notification violated the basic principles of law enshrined in Articles 14 (equality) and 21 (right to life) of the Constitution.