Telangana High Court finds fault with cancellation of ration sop
About 8 lakh holders of white ration cards are being deprived of financial assistance due to the government’s move, the Court was informed
Hyderabad: The High Court division bench comprising Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Bollam Vijaysen Reddy heard a tag of two public interest litigations on Thursday.
The Government of Telangana announced the distribution of Rs 1,500 to the white ration card holders as assistance during lockdown due to Covid-19 and later the government issued orders cancelling the distribution of Rs 1,500 to those who did not buy ration during the three months of January, February and March this year.
Due to such cancellation, about eight lakh holders of white ration cards are being deprived of financial assistance. The petitioner counsel sought the court to issue necessary directions to the government to distribute Rs 1,500 to all the white card holders irrespective of the fact as to whether they have taken ration for the last 3 months or not.
The Bench pointed out that the State government's intention is to help the needy. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic situation and lockdown, most of the food security card holders have lost their jobs.
'Without any wages, without any salary how can they buy food grains. The government neither permits them to get Rs.1,500 as a stipend nor would give any other benefits to them, these are the persons who are in need of help', the Bench opined.
Further the Bench sad, it means that government is dealing with a homogeneous category of persons. 'You cannot bifurcate artificially, that could be a violation of Article 14, the stay needs to be vacated, you are duty-bound to pay that person because that person is without a job', the Bench added.
'There is a procedure for cancelling the food security cards. The procedure has not been followed in cancelling the cards, that's why the petitioner counsel says until the FS Cards are cancelled you cannot deny the benefit of the stipend of Rs 1500',
the Bench said.
In the counter affidavit, the government says that someone who has a food security card is eligible for all the benefits like, pensions, pharmaceutical expenses and Arogyasri, Kalyana Laxmi, Shaadi Mubarak ., Schemes.
CJ questioned 'how do you differentiate that although they are eligible for other benefits denying the benefit stipend of Rs 1,500', the Bench asked.
'The person without a job, without wages, without salary, what are you expecting of a needy person, a needy person is one who does not have any living wages available to him because of Covid-19. Who are the needy people we are looking for? We don't know he might have come by walk from Delhi to reach Telangana', CJ said.
Advocate General Banda Shivananda Prasad informed the Bench that with regard to this particular aspect where the government has come out with assistance,essentially the benefits should go to the very needy persons.
The argument needs to be advanced on these aspects, AG requested for some time and the Court adjourned the matter to July 23 for further hearing.