Delhi High Court Directs the State to Provide Ration to E-Coupon Holders

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Ms Shabnam, a law student residing in Sultan Puri, Delhi filed the present petition. She raised a grievance that despite the Delhi government issuing e-coupons to 1982 persons in the area, they have not been delivered ration from the Ration Distribution Centre (RDC) for the past one month. The bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad disposed of the petition along with the pending applications.

Facts of the Case

After the Central Government implemented the nationwide lockdown, the Delhi Government announced a scheme. The scheme provided ration to the non-ration cardholders through e-coupons. The petitioner has stated that the “poorest of poor and the neediest among the neediest” are unable to get the ration.

Arguments by the Petitioner 

Learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that the petitioner has made representations to Respondent No.1. She had requested that ration shops deliver ration through e-coupons at the earliest. This was because e-coupon holders returned home empty-handed due to paucity of ration. The petitioner also contended that all the people cannot avail e-coupons. This was because the people who need E-Coupons do not have access to smartphones and the internet.

She also stated that the form is not as simple as the State mentioned. The petitioner has impleaded FCI as Respondent No.2 and the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, UOI as Respondent No.5. However, no relief is directed against Respondents No.2 and 3.

Arguments by the Respondent

The learned counsel for the respondent No.2 stated that FCI is neither a necessary nor a proper party in the proceedings. The learned counsel for Respondent Nos. 1, 3 and 4 concede that there has been a paucity of ration at some PDS centres. It includes the one at Nigam School, Sultan Puri, Delhi. She assured the Court that the RDC set-up will supply ration to all the e-coupon holders in the area.

She submitted that efforts have been made to supply enough ration to the said RDC but there are still e-coupon holders who have not received the ration. The counsel has requested one week’s time to supply ration to all the e-coupon holders.

Court’s Decision

The Court observed that it is unacceptable that ration shops leave e-coupon holders high and dry, despite the Delhi government having issued e-coupons in such large numbers. It criticized GNCTD stating that it must have ensured sufficient quantities of ration are available in proportion to the number of e-coupons issued for purposes of distribution. The Court directed Respondents No. 1, 3 and 4 to ensure that the RDC supplies ration to all pending e-coupon holders. The Court stated that the petitioner is entitled to approach this Court if the authorities fail to do so. The Court also pointed out that it shall be viewing non-compliance seriously.


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