SC issues notice on plea against cancellation of 3 crore ration cards not linked to Aadhaar

The top court noted that it was a serious matter as it has led to alleged starvation deaths


The Supreme Court has sought the response of the Central Government on a plea alleging the cancellation of 3 crore ration cards on account of non-linking with Aadhaar Cards that resulted in starvation deaths, reported LiveLaw.

Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves appeared for Koili Devi (petitioner) and Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi represented the Centre and Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) that issues Aadhaar cards.

The Supreme Court Bench headed by CJI SA Bobde issued the direction while hearing a PIL filed on the issue of implementation of a grievance redressal mechanism to ensure food to everyone under the National Food Security Act, as per media reports. “The matter is too serious”, said the Bench as per a LiveLaw report.

Senior counsel Colin Gonsalves submitted that the petition dealt with an alarming state of affairs, and alleged that the Central government had cancelled three crore ration cards without giving notice to the beneficiary.

LiveLaw quoted the Bench saying, “We see the seriousness of the problem. I have dealt with this matter with relation to Belghat. You are asking for an omnibus kind of relief. You should have the matter investigated by Jurisdictional High Court. This kind of thing will not help us or anybody. If you make an allegation about the entire country, this court cannot go into that.”

But Gonsalves argued that the cancellation was brought about by the Central Government. “Three crore cards have been cancelled on Central level”, he said. The Bench then said, “There’s nothing in law that states the High Court can’t set aside cancellation of Aadhaar cards.”

Gonsalves reiterated as reported by LiveLaw, “No Aadhaar cards are not found cancelled, the tribals either don’t have Aadhaar cards, or the identification doesn’t work in tribal and rural areas. Because of this reliance on Aadhaar cards, can you imagine 3 crore cards are gone!”

The Bench astonishingly asked, “Three crore cards have gone?” Senior counsel Colin responded, “Yes. Starvation deaths are taking place. 3 crores ration cards have gone! I can show UOI declaration. It’s an announcement of the Prime Minister.”

The Bench clarified that it was not belittling the problem and after being informed about the cancellation by the authority, it said that it would take up the matter and keep it for final hearing.

Despite ASG Aman Lekhi’s submission that the government notification explicitly states that the absence of Aadhaar will not lead to denial of ration cards, the top court Bench also comprising Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian reportedly said that it will hear the matter in another 4 weeks.

The petitioner approached the Supreme Court after her 13-year-old girl died of starvation in September 2017 after they were denied ration in Jharkhand, reported HT. During a hearing on February 24 last year, the Centre had denied allegations of such starvation deaths in Jharkhand and arbitrary cancellation of ration cards across the country.

It said that the cancellation between 2013 to 2016 pertained to ghost ration cards and KK Venugopal asserted that the statistics referred to in the petition were completely wrong and submitted that they would prove the averments as incorrect.


Jharkhand: Aadhaar Continues to Deny Grain Entitlements to Poor, Cancellation of Ration Cards Adding to Woes
Jharkand’s Poor Struck Off Ration Cards, Pensioners List, declared ‘Fake’



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