The Madras High Court on Friday directed the concerned state authorities to distribute packets of essential food grains to class of persons who do not have any Ration Card, at the same Distribution counters through which the Civil Supplies Department is making distribution of the food grains to the persons who are holding Ration cards.
The bench of Dr. Justice Vineet Kothari and Justice R. Suresh Kumar noted that requiring such persons who do not have any Ration Card to approach the District Collector office, for taking their food supplies during the imminent thread of COVID-19 pandemic would cause them "unnecessary inconvenience and may breach the norms of social distancing because no time slots are fixed for them."
The order was passed in a plea seeking distribution of food grains on the basis of Aadhar Card or Driving Licence or any other Identity issued by the competent authority, to families who do not have ration cards, particularly the members of migrant workers, Community Drivers and Construction Workers who are working in the unorganised sectors within the State of Tamil Nadu.
During the course of hearing, the Additional Advocate General informed the court that the State Government had already made provision for distribution of 15 Kgs of Rice, 1 Kg of Dhal and 1 Kg of Edible Oil as one time food supply to these class of persons. This also includes the other persons who are residents of the State but do not have the Ration cards. However, he submitted that supply of these items to these persons is to be made through the office of the District Collector concerned.
Expressing health concerns over this aspect of calling people all the way to the District Collector's office, the bench ordered,
"we direct that the State should distribute these food packets of essential food grains to such persons also, at the same Distribution counters or centres, through which the Civil Supplies Department is making distribution of the food grains to the persons who are holding Ration cards. A separate records of these persons can be maintained by these Centres also, which can be transmitted to the office of the District Collector concerned on day to day basis to avoid any repetitive supply to the same person of this nature, for the given period."
A compliance report to this effect has to be filed on April 9.
Case Title: P. Arularasu v. State of Tamil Nadu & Ors.
Case No.: WP No. 7423/2020
Quorum: Dr. Justice Vineet Kothari and Justice R. Suresh Kumar
Appearance: Petitioner in person; Additional Advocate General PH Arvind Pandian (for State)
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