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Door-to-door ration: SC refuses to interfere with Delhi HC order

New Delhi, Nov 15 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday refused to interfere with Delhi High Court's interim order on door-to-door supply of food grains by the Delhi government.

The Delhi High Court had on September 27 cleared the way for the implementation of the doorstep delivery of ration scheme, against which the Centre moved the Supreme Court.

The Delhi government assured the Supreme Court that it will not implement its door-to-door ration delivery scheme till the Delhi High Court takes up the main petition pending there against the validity of the scheme on November 22.

The Delhi government also brought on record that its scheme is "fully compatible with one nation one ration card (ONORC) scheme".

A bench headed by justice L. Nageswara Rao and comprising justice B.R. Gavai queried Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the Delhi government: "Have you started implementing the scheme (doorstep delivery of ration)?"

Singhvi submitted that 90 per cent of the citizens have applied for this scheme -- 69 lakh people out of 72 lakh have been registered.

Singhvi added that these days Amazon is making home deliveries, food is being delivered at home, and also liquor, therefore there is nothing wrong in delivery of food grains at the doors of poor people under public distribution system (PDS).

He added that there are lobbies, which do not want the Delhi government to fill the leakage in the system.

The bench queried, "Has the Delhi government implemented the scheme?"

Singhvi replied, "Not started in full swing, preparations are going on".

The bench posed the second query, does it take care of ONORC scheme?

Singhvi replied the Delhi government takes pride in making the scheme absolutely free from corruption, as everything has been computerised, and biometrics is also there. "Fully compatible with ONORC scheme", submitted Singhvi.

After hearing the arguments in the matter, the bench initially recorded in the order that the Delhi government should not implement the scheme till the disposal of the matter by the High Court.

However, Singhvi pressed that this will become a long stay on the scheme and insisted that the government will not implement it till November 22.

Singhvi requested the bench to record in the order his submission that there is no possibility of the scheme being implemented within a week.

"These words may propagate that there is complete stay on scheme", said Singhvi.

The bench said it will examine Singhvi's submission, when the final order is passed.

The bench also said it is not inclined to entertain Special Leave Petitions filed by the Centre and Delhi Sarkari Ration Dealers Sangh against the Delhi High Court order passed on September 27, 2021.

The top court also asked the parties not to take adjournment in the matter, when it comes up for hearing at the High Court.

The Centre, in its plea, had told the top court that the Delhi government's door-to-door ration scheme will create an "opaque" PDS, which will put at risk numerous beneficiaries, especially migrant workers, who are covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) in the national capital.

The Centre contended that the door-to-door ration scheme not only has "material deficiencies" but is also in stark contradiction to the NFSA, 2013, and may also have adverse implications in the implementation of the ONORC scheme.