BENGALURU: The High Court has directed the Secretary, Department of Food and Civil Supplies to take steps to cancel the large number of fake ration cards in circulation.
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee and Justice B V Nagarathna issued the direction on Friday while disposing of a public interest litigation.
“This is a writ petition alleging that some fake ration cards have been issued. We dispose it of as factual investigation is not convenient in a constitutional jurisdiction and direct the Secretary, Department of Food and Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs to initiate proceedings against this as expeditiously as possible,” the bench ordered.
Petitioner L Vasudeva Murthy, who is an engineering consultant by profession and a social activist, informed the court that approximately 10 lakh fake ration cards existed, causing a loss of `81 crore per month to the state exchequer. But the authorities are not taking any action to remove these bogus cards.
The petitioner’s counsel, M R Balakrishna, contended that at 30 kg of rice for each card every month, the monthly outflow for 10 lakh cards would be 3 lakh quintals. The cost of rice supplied by the Food Corporation of India is about `2,700 per quintal. So the loss to the government due to the bogus ration cards, with respect to rice alone, would be `81 crore a month.
“Bogus ration cards are the root cause for the unlawful diversion of food grains to the black market,” he said. Balakrishna said the loss on account of sugar and kerosene outflow would be much more. Aggrieved by the inaction of the authorities to weed out bogus ration card holders, the petitioner said, “I filed the petition without any other alternative and efficacious remedy.”
Vasudevamurthy also drew the attention of the court to the fact that under the National Food Security Act 2013, subsidised items such as food grains, sugar and kerosene must reach the eligible families. This is ensured by making use of ration cards which are genuine, he said.
Notices to MCC, MUDA
The High Court on Friday issued a notice to the State Chief Secretary, Mysore City Corporation (MCC), Mysore Urban Development Authority (MUDA) and Mysuru City Police Commissioner. The notice was issued based on PIL challenging the construction of the police commissioner’s office in the area marked as ‘Kasturba Garden and Band Bungalow’ at Nazarbad in Mysuru.
A division bench of Officiating Chief Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee and Justice B V Nagarathna was hearing a petition filed by C Ravish and two others, all residents of Nazarbad.
Petitioners’ counsel Vineet Bhat argued that the construction is against the provisions of Section 7 of the Karnataka Parks, Playgrounds and Open Spaces (Preservation and Regulation) Act, 1985. It also defeats the purpose of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, 1961, read with the Development Control Regulations framed by MUDA.
He appealed to the court to direct the MCC to reject the representation of the city police commissioner seeking to change the status of the said land, as it is illegal. He also drew the attention of the court to the construction works undertaken by the commissioner of police at an open area demarcated as a park/open space in the revised Comprehensive Development Plan for Mysuru.
“The said land was being used as a playground and for walks and recreation by citizens prior to it being taken over by the police commissioner,” the petitioners contended.