The Delhi High Court on Thursday set aside the Aam Aadmi Party government’s door-to-door ration delivery scheme, Bar and Bench reported.
A division bench of acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh was hearing a plea challenging the scheme filed by the Delhi Sarkari Ration Dealers Sangh. In their verdict, the judges noted that the Delhi lieutenant governor had not approved the scheme, reported the Hindustan Times.
“Direct the Food Corporation of India to strictly ensure that the foodgrains supplied by it [the scheme] under the public distribution system to the Delhi government are as per the standards fixed under the Food, Safety and Standards Act, 2006,” the petition had stated.
The court, however, said the Delhi government was free to bring in another doorstep delivery scheme under the Targeted Public Distribution System but it cannot use the grains given by the Centre for the programme, reported PTI.
The bench said that if the Delhi government was bringing in a new scheme, it should send the proposal to the lieutenant governor for examination, reported Live Law.
The court said that if the lieutenant governor has a disagreement over the scheme with the Delhi government, he should refer the matter to the president.
“The final decision shall rest with the president on the difference of opinion and the said decision shall prevail and bind the council of ministers headed by the [Delhi] chief minister and the lieutenant governor, who shall act in accordance with the said final decision,” the court added.
The Delhi High Court had reserved its order in January after holding multiple hearings.
The Arvind Kejriwal-led government was scheduled to launch the scheme, named Mukhya Mantri Ghar Ghar Ration Yojana, on March 25 last year. Under the initiative, the Delhi government had planned to provide packaged wheat flour, rice and sugar at the doorstep of beneficiaries of the ration system.
The Centre, however, has repeatedly sought to stall the doorstep ration delivery scheme in Delhi. It has argued that under the National Food Security Act, a state government is not entitled to change the mode of distribution of foodgrains.
As part of the scheme, every beneficiary is entitled to receive four kilograms of flour and one kilograms of rice at their doorstep.
In an interim order passed on September 27, the Delhi High Court had allowed the Delhi government to reduce the supply of foodgrains to fair price shops in order to implement the scheme. The Centre had filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court against the order.
In November, the Supreme Court refused to entertain the Union government’s petition.
In March, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann had announced the roll out of the doorstep ration delivery scheme in the state.