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Delhi HC issues notice on plea challenging non-PDS guidelines limiting rations to 20 lakh people

A Division Bench of Justice Navin Chawla and Justice Asha Menon issued notice in an application against the guidelines issued by Delhi Government dated May 27 for providing grains to people without ration cards.

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The Delhi High Court has on Wednesday issued notice in an application challenging the Non-Public Distribution System Guidelines issued by the Delhi Government for allegedly limiting the number of beneficiaries to 20 lakh.

A Division Bench of Justice Navin Chawla and Justice Asha Menon issued notice in an application against the guidelines issued by Delhi Government dated May 27 for providing grains to people without ration cards.

The application has been filed in a Public Interest Litigation filed by NGO Delhi Rozi-Roti Adhikar Abhiyan seeking direction to the Delhi Government to modify Non-PDS Guidelines in such a manner that there is no arbitrary maximum number of beneficiaries prescribed under the scheme guidelines.

The grievance of the applicant is that the order of the Delhi Government prescribes an arbitrary cap of 20 lakh beneficiaries for the Non-PDS scheme; and that it says that the scheme is a “one-time relief measure”; It also seeks suitable modifications to the Impugned Guidelines for the implementation of transparency and accountability measures of the nature that the Court had ordered last year. 

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The application stated, “The lockdown has led to a large-scale and sudden loss of livelihood of workers in the informal sector, daily wagers, self-employed persons working as plumbers, carpenters, rickshaw pullers, street hawkers etc. and has plunged lakhs of people into food insecurity and hunger. The various food programs under the NFSA are the only life-line for large number of persons and families in Delhi and therefore, it is crucial that these work properly to ensure that every person is able to access the fundamental right to food.”

The applicant has further sought direction to the Government to modify Non-PDS Guidelines in such a manner that it is not a mere one-time relief measure and that beneficiaries may receive dry rations for every calendar month until further orders of this Hon’ble Court.

The court while issuing notice granted time to the respondents to file a reply. The matter is listed for further hearing on June 25.

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