Delhi High Court Directs the Government to Cater the Issue of Denial of Access to Food to Poor During the Lockdown

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The present petition (Delhi Rozi-Roti Adhikar Abhiyan v Union of India and Ors) was placed before the High Court of Delhi by the Petitioner, Delhi Rozi-Roti Adhikar Abhiyan, to raise the concerns regarding the violations in the implementation of the National Food Security Act, including denial of access to food grain tot he poor, underprivileged and marginalised sections of the populace, and ration shops being shut down during the working hours. 

Submission before the Court

The GNCTD had submitted that the Government is taking all necessary steps to alleviate the sufferings of the poor through various measures, which includes serving of hot meals twice a day at a large number of specified locations. It was further submitted by the Respondent that Hunger Relief Centres have been set up within 200 metres of each residential zone which are responsible for feeding 10 lakh people every single day. 

The submissions of the respondent were opposed by the Petitioner who informed that 37% of the ration shops in Delhi were found closed during the working hours, which is an alarming rate considering the present situation. The petitioner also submitted that the proper functioning of the food distribution is more important than ever before as lakhs of people in Delhi have lost their livelihood due to the sudden lockdown and are unable to afford even one meal in a day.

Court’s Orders

Observing the concerns of the Petitioner, the Delhi High Court passed an order on the 27th of April, directing the GNCTD that it shall ensure that all the ration shops remain operational and disburse PDS food grains, in accordance with the policy formulated by both the Central Government, as well as, the State Government in this regard.

The court further directed that the delivery of the requisite food grains from the PDS ration shops shall be ensured on a regular basis between 09:00 a.m. to 01:00 p.m. and 03:00 p.m. to 07:00 p.m., on all seven days of the week.

The court directed that

“The GNCTD shall also ensure that food grains are distributed to the poor, needy and marginalized non-PDS residents from the PDS, as well as, other distribution centres stated to be set-up by them, for the said purpose.”

The court also directed the GNCTD to ensure that the Sub-Divisional Magistrate of each district carries out strict and regular monitoring of food grain distribution to the PDS and non-PDS residents, and the same shall be recorded on their official website at the end of each day. 

The Court further directed the GNCTD

“to immediately place on their official website, as well as, publicize through the print and electronic media, Grievance Helpline Numbers, so as to enable members of the public, who may be aggrieved qua the lack of distribution of the food grains, to seek redressal of their grievances, by contacting the Nodal Officers appointed for the said purpose, whose details shall also be placed in the public domain, forthwith”.

The court also directed the Nodal Officers to address the grievances so received and place the actions taken in its regard on the official website.


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