The Supreme Court quoted the matter as ‘too serious’ and sought it response from the centre on plea regarding cancellation of three crore ration cards for not linking with Aadhar and subsequent starvation deaths.
By: Pragnya Prachurya Acharya
A three-judge bench comprising Justice Bobde of the Supreme Court issued the direction to the Central government of India and sought response while hearing a PIL filed on the issue of implementation of a grievance redressal mechanism to ensure food to everyone under the National Food Security Act.
Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves was appearing for the petitioner to inform the court that the notice has not been issued on the petition, but only an incidental order was made on the aspects of grievance redressal mechanism. Gonsalves also added that, “This petition deals with an alarming state of affairs because the Central government has cancelled three crore ration cards without notice to the beneficiaries.”
The Supreme Court said that, “the better thing is to improve judicial High Court; we don’t think it’s an appropriate remedy“. And to this the petitioner argued that cancellation has been done on Central level – three crore cards have been canceled on Central level.
“There’s nothing in law that states the High Court can’t set aside cancellation of Aadhar cards”, the bench responded.
Gonsalves further submitted that, “starvation deaths are taking place. Three crore ration cards have gone; I can show Union of India’s declaration. It is an announcement of the Prime Minister”
To this ASG Lekhi submitted that, “The government notification clearly states that absence of Aadhar card will not lead to denial of ration card”, and still if the ration cards are not issued then it’s the responsibility of the State government not the Central government.
To this the bench responded that, “We are not belittling the problem. We were only thinking if the state should deal with it, but we will consider it and keep it for final hearing”.
The PIL highlights the starvation death cases across India but it specifically documented starvation deaths taking place in Jharkhand, UP, Orissa, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, and Andhra Pradesh & Telangana.
News reports throughout India have also confirmed that genuine cards were cancelled without notice.
The bench said that it will consider the case and hear it in final hearing and has notice returnable in four weeks. The bench clarified that they are asking the government response only because of the Aadhar issue.
The bench also observed that “the matter is too serious”.