Delhi High Court seeks timeline from state govt on implementing provisions of Food Security Act

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday directed the Delhi government to submit a timeline for complying with the court's last year direction to examine the model rules suggested by the central government on distribution of food by fair price shops and take steps under the provisions of the national food security law.

A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao said it was constrained to note that despite the order on 1 September last year, the AAP government has not complied with the directions and the provisions of National Food Security Act (NFSA) have not been put into place. It said that except for certain interim arrangements, no permanent solution, in conformity with the requirement of the statute, has been put in place.

File image of Delhi High Court. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The bench granted two weeks to the Delhi government to bring on record the timeline and schedule by when its order and statutory provisions of the NFSA will be complied with in toto. "We feel what needs to have been done, has not been done," the bench said and listed the matter for further hearing on 13 September.

The court was hearing a petition by an NGO, Delhi Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyan, which sought disbursal of subsidised foodgrains to beneficiaries under NFSA without Aadhaar cards. The high court in its September last year order had directed the Delhi government to examine the Model Rules suggested by the Central government and take steps in accordance with the provisions of the National Food Security Act, 2013 in four weeks.

It had also asked the state government to examine the provisions of the NFSA and put in place the internal grievance redressal mechanism and District Grievance Redressal Officer. The court had also said that the state shall examine the provisions regarding creation of the State Food Commission and take appropriate steps in this regard.

The court was hearing a petition by an NGO, Delhi Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyan, which sought disbursal of subsidised foodgrains to the beneficiaries under the national food security act (NFSA) without Aadhaar cards.

The NGO had moved the court claiming that some slum dwellers in south Delhi were facing difficulties in getting subsidised foodgrains under the PDS due to lack of Aadhaar cards. Under the NFSA which was rolled out across the country in November 2016, five kgs of foodgrains per person are provided each month at Rs 1-3 per kg to over 80 crore people.

The Centre had earlier told the court that Aadhaar was made mandatory to ensure that the poor get subsidised foodgrains under the Public Distribution System (PDS). Terming PDS as a "misused system", it had said that through Aadhaar, the endeavour was to ensure that the real beneficiaries get foodgrains.

Aadhaar is a 12-digit unique identification number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) after collecting biometric data of the citizens.
The PIL has sought quashing of the Centre's February 8, 2017 notification making Aadhaar mandatory for availing benefits under the NFSA. The notification came into effect from 8 February  2017 in all states and UTs, except Assam, Meghalaya and Jammu and Kashmir.

The petition has said the notification violates the basic principle of law enshrined in Articles 14 (equality) and 21 (right to life) of the Constitution.

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Updated Date: Aug 17, 2018 18:49:52 IST

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