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SC Considers Cancellation of Rs 3 Million Ration Cards Serious, Requests Center for Responses, Says | India News


NEW DELHI: On Wednesday, the Supreme Court called the cancellation of around three million ration cards by the Center due to the lack of linkage to the Aadhaar card as “too serious”, and sought a response from the central government and from all states on the subject.
A bench of the Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian said that this matter should not be treated as contradictory as it is too serious a matter.
The bank said the matter will go to a final hearing. At first, lead defender Colin Gonsalves, who appeared before petitioner Koili Devi, said that the petition deals with a broader issue.
“We look at the problem at hand and I have dealt with these kinds of issues in the Bombay High Court and I think this matter should be brought before the appropriate high court,” the CJI said.
The bench told Gonsalves that he has sought a very broad kind of relief and broadened the scope of the matter.
Gonsalves persisted with his arguments that it is an important issue as the Center has canceled about three crore ration cards.
The bank said it will hear the matter another day, as Gonsalves persuaded it that the central government canceled the ration cards.
Additional Attorney General Aman Lekhi said Gonsalves made a misstatement that the Center has canceled the ration cards.
“We ask you (Center) to respond because of the Aadhaar problem. This is not an adversarial dispute. We will finally hear it. Issue returnable notice in four weeks, ”said the bench.
Lekhi said a notice on the matter has already been issued and the Center’s response is on file.
Gonsalves said a notice has not been issued on the main allegation but on alternative redress for grievances.
“The main problem is the cancellation of the three million rupee ration cards and death by starvation,” Gonsalves said.
On December 9, 2019, the high court had requested responses from all states on allegations of starvation deaths of people who were deprived of their ration supplies because they did not have valid Aadhaar cards.
“Issue a notice that can be returned within four weeks to the respondent States asking them to report on the measures they have taken to implement the complaint redress mechanism contained in Sections 14, 15 and 16 of the National Food Safety Law of 2013. The notice can be delivered to the permanent state attorney, ”the court had said.
The Center had previously said that reports suggest the deaths were not due to hunger.
“No one was denied food due to lack of a valid Aadhaar card,” he had said.
The PIL has been filed by Devi, whose 11-year-old daughter Santoshi from Simdega district in Jharkhand died of hunger on September 28, 2018. Santoshi’s sister, Gudiya Devi, is the joint petitioner in the case.
The petition noted that Santoshi, who belonged to a poor Dalit family, died because the local authorities canceled his family’s ration card because they did not link her to Aadhaar.
He said that the family subsequently stopped receiving rations as of March 2017, and as a result, the entire family had gone hungry.
Even on the day Santoshi died, his mother could only serve him some salted tea, the only thing the family had in the kitchen, the plea said, adding that Santoshi succumbed to hunger later that night.

Times of India