Delhi High Court Sets Aside AAP Government’s Doorstep Ration Delivery Scheme

New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party-led government’s doorstep delivery of ration scheme was set aside by the Delhi high court on Thursday, declaring that the Centre’s grain could not be utilized for the scheme.

The scheme for home delivery of rations, according to a bench of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh, did not have the lieutenant governor’s consent.

The Delhi Sarkari Ration Dealers Sangh filed a petition contesting the government’s doorstep ration delivery plan, which is led by Arvind Kejriwal.

The group of FPS owners has filed a lawsuit challenging the plan and asking that it be ruled ultra vires (beyond one’s legal capacity or authority).

Due to disputes between the Delhi administration and the Centre, the Delhi government’s doorstep delivery of ration scheme has remained blocked.

The scheme was supposed to start on March 25, 2021, but the Union food and consumer affairs ministry wrote to the Delhi government on March 19 to object to two things: the use of the term “mukhyamantri (chief minister)” for a scheme involving the distribution of food grains allocated under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), and the fact that any change in the delivery mechanism would require an amendment to the NSFA, which could only be done by Parliament.

The scheme had become a flashpoint between the BJP government at the Centre and the AAP government in Delhi, with the former claiming that it violated the NFSA and would deprive migrants of foodgrains, and the latter claiming that it would root out the ration mafia and ensure that all beneficiaries received their fair share.

The Supreme Court refused to hear two separate petitions (one by the Centre and the other by FPS owners) challenging a Delhi high court interim order on September 27 that allowed the AAP government to stop supplying foodgrain to fixed price shops for patrons who chose doorstep delivery over physical ration collection. The temporary order of the high court is also effective.

The lieutenant governor had previously opposed the petition, telling the high court that the council of ministers had ignored his repeated advice to the Delhi government to address the violation of the National Food Security Act (NFSA) flagged by the union government in the implementation of the doorstep delivery of ration scheme.

The local government had argued the court that, with the advancement of technology, doorstep delivery of rations had become the norm, and that it should be praised rather than chastised. Everything has been delivered at home for the past two years, according to the report.

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