ILNS: The Delhi High Court today sought a response from the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party government over a petition seeking to resume providing dry rations under the Mukhya Mantri Corona Sahayta Yojna (MMCSY), to ensure that poor and needy persons don’t go hungry.
A Division Bench of the High Court, presided over by Chief Justice D N Patel and also comprising Justice Jasmeet Singh, issued notice to the Centre and the Delhi government over the petition filed by NGO Delhi Rozi-Roti Adhikar Abhiyan and kept the matter for further hearing on May 16.
It further sought direction to the Delhi government to resume accepting E-coupon applications and operating kiosks and help desks, facilitating such applications for the purpose of receiving benefits for all residents not already covered under the regular PDS scheme under the National Food Security Act, 2013.
The PIL, filed by Advocate S Prasanna, on behalf of the NGO, also sought direction to the Delhi Government to ensure resumption of hunger relief centers for providing free hot cooked meals to all those in need.
The relief has been sought in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing declaration of national lockdown leading to acute hunger, distress and the denial of right to food and right to access to food to lakhs of people, residing in the national capital, said the plea.
Advocate Prasanna said the restrictions and lockdown announced last week in the national capital, to check the spread of the second wave of COVID-19, are likely to result in aggravation of economic distress and scarcity of food for the poor.
The NGO had written a letter to the Delhi Government last week, urging the following:
(a) provide free hot cooked meals through homeless shelters and dedicated relief centres and ensure no person desirous of obtaining food is turned away from these centres;
(b) to universalise the public distribution system by providing ration to all persons in need of food security, irrespective of whether they possess a ration card; and
(c) ensure that all provisions for food security under the National Food Security Act- the Mid-Day Meal scheme (MDM), Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and hot cooked meal for pregnant and lactating women through Anganwadis- continue without any disruption during this time of crisis.
The petition also narrated the incident of the night of April 18, 2021 of various places in Delhi, where needy people did not receive food, despite the best efforts of the volunteers, who were helping to provide food.