Thursday, September 28, 2023

Patna High Court dismisses PIL seeking direction upon respondent authorities to hold an inquiry into alleged malpractice

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The Patna High Court while taking note of the action taken in respect of the complaints raised by the petitioner and the provisions of the Bihar Targeted Public Distribution System (Control) Order, 2016 (BTPDS (Control) Order, 2016) which contain adequate powers and provisions for dealing with any unfair practice being adopted by PDS dealers, dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed seeking direction upon the respondent-Authorities to hold an inquiry into the alleged malpractice and irregularity in issuance of Ration Cards in fictitious name.

The petitioner’s grievance is with reference to a particular dealer under the Public Distribution System (PDS) in the district of Samastipur, who has been impleaded as private party respondent No. 7. The petitioner has mentioned names of family members of certain Ration Card holders without impleading them as a party.

The respondents in the counter affidavit have placed on record some action taken in this regard, including deletion of certain names of beneficiaries from the Ration Cards issued by the dealer-in-question. They have submitted that the respondents are verifying the Ration Cards from time to time.

The Court, having considered the provisions of ‘the BTPDS (Control) Order, 2016 , finds that the same provides for inspection of fair price shops and action to be taken against the licensee in the appropriate circumstances of violation of the terms of license or unfair practices being adopted by the licensee.

Clause 20 of the BTPDS (Control) Order, 2016 provides for periodic inspection and Clause 25 the action against a licensee for certain circumstances, including in the event the dealer makes false entries in the BPL ration card(s) , the Court noted.

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