Supreme Court: “Cancellation of three crore Ration cards is a serious issue”

The Supreme Court sought response of the Central government on a plea regarding cancellation of three crore ration cards across India due to non-linkage with the Aadhar cards which lead to starvation deaths.

A petition was filed by, Koili Devi through Senior Advocate Corlin Gonsalves, whose 11-year-old daughter, Santhoshi Kumari, was allegedly a victim of hunger death in Jharkhand in 2017. 

She said that her family’s ration card was cancelled due to non-linkage with Aadhaar. 

The petition stated that, insistence on Aadhar and biometric authentication had led to the cancellation of nearly three crore ration cards in the country according to the Union of India.

Further a concern was raised that tribals and people in rural areas either do not have Aadhaar cards or the identification does not work in tribal and rural areas due to non availability of internet.

It was stated that ‘Right to food,’ which the ration card symbolised, cannot be curbed or cancelled because of lack of Aadhaar.

The petition also stated that it was unfortunate as Supreme Court had laid down in clear terms that “no insistence on Aadhaar can be done for statutory entitlements.”

The report submitted by the petitioner also stated that several starvation deaths have been taking in places in many states, but the States have been denying this.

It was also submitted that the States have not appointed independent nodal officers or district grievance redressal officer under the National Food Security Act.

Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi representing the Centre, denied the statements made and stated that issuance of ration card was not dependent on the Aadhaar card and it primarily the responsibility of the State governments.

It was further stated that the petitioners should have approached the High Court or sought redressal through the grievance redressal mechanism under the National Food Security Act.

After hearing the counsel, CJI Bobde noted that it “was a serious issue” and thus it would be listed for hearing after four weeks.

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