Supreme Court orders - Right to food case

Order of 23 July 2001 [top]
• In our opinion, what is of utmost importance is to see that food is provided to the aged, infirm, disabled, destitute women, destitute men who are in danger of starvation, pregnant and lactating women and destitute children, especially in cases where they or members of their family do not have sufficient funds to provide food for them
• By way of an interim order, we direct the States to see that all the PDS shops, if closed, are re-opened and start functioning within one week from today and regular supplies

Order of 28 November 2001 [top]
• Public Distribution System
o It is the case of the Union of India that there has been full compliance with regard to the allotment of foodgrain in relation to the TPDS. However, if any of the States gives a specific instance of non-compliance, the Union of India will do the needful within the framework of the Scheme.
o The States are directed to complete the identification of BPL families, issuing of cards and commencement of distribution of 25 kgs. grain per family per month.
o The Delhi Govt. will ensure that TPDS application forms are freely available and are given and received free of charge and there is an effective mechanism in place to ensure speedy and effective redressal of grievances
• Antyodaya Anna Yojana
o It is the case of the Union of India that there has been full compliance with regard to the allotment of foodgrain in relation to Antyodaya Anna Yojana. However, if any of the States gives a specific instance of non-compliance, the Union of India will do the needful within the framework of the Scheme
o We direct the States and the Union Territories to complete identification of beneficiaries, issuing of cards and distribution of grain under this Scheme latest
by 1st January, 2002.
o It appears that some Antyodaya beneficiaries may be unable to lift grain because of penury. In such cases, the Centre, the States and the Union Territories are requested to consider giving the quota free after satisfying itself in this behalf
• Annapurna Anna Yojana
o The States/ Union Territories are directed to identify the beneficiaries and distribute the grain latest by 1st January, 2002.
• Other directions
o We direct that a copy of this order be translated in regional languages and in English by the respective States/ Union Territories and prominently displayed in all Gram Panchayats, Govt. School Buildings and Fair Price Shops.
o In order to ensure transparency in selection of beneficiaries and their access to these Schemes, the Gram Panchayats will also display a list of all beneficiaries under the various Schemes.

Order of 8 May 2002 [top]
• In view of the grievance that the identification of BPL families is not being done properly the central... and the state governments are directed to clarify the issue and work out a policy for...
• The respondents shall ensure that rations shops remain open throughout the months during fixed hours the details of which will be displayed on the notice board.
• Dr. N C Saxena and Mr S R Sankaran are appointed as commissioners of the Court to redress complaints that have not been resolved by the Collectors and the Chief Secretary. They can take the help of NGOs and individuals to help them monitor the implementation of the court's orders.

Order of 29 October 2002 [top]
• Chief Secretaries will be held responsible if starvation deaths are established in their states.
• Each state will appoint one officer as an assistant to the commissioner.
• One last chance is given to the states to take up the publicity of the orders and translation them

Order of 2 May 2003
• Licences of ration shop dealers to be cancelled if they (i) do not open on time, (ii) overcharge, (iii) retain ration cards, (iv) make false entries in BPL cards, or (v) engage in black marketing.
• BPL households are to be permitted to buy grain in instalments.
• The following groups to be given Antyodaya cards:
(1) Aged, infirm, disabled, destitute men and women, pregnant and lactating destitute women;
(2) widows and other single women with no regular support;
(3) old persons (aged 60 or above) with no regular support and no assured means of subsistence;
(4) households with a disabled adult and no assured means of subsistence;
(5) households where due to old age, lack of physical or mental fitness, social customs, need to care for a disabled, or other reasons, no adult member is available to engage in gainful employment outside the house; and
(6) primitive tribes.

Order of 20 April 2004
• Antyodaya: BPL criterion should not be used in selection of Antyodaya beneficiaries. States have been directed to issue AAY cards to all primitive tribes immediately.

Order of 14 March 2006

Counsel for the parties state that a settlement has been arrived at between the petitioner and Ministry of Rural Development and the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Government of India.

The terms of which are as follows:

"1.Food grain allocations by the Central Government to beneficiaries under TPDS will be continued to be made at the present to States on the basis of Planning commission estimates of 1993-94 poverty rations, which is at 36% applied to the population projections of the Registrar General of India as on 1.3.2000 or on the basis of families identified and issued ration cards by the State Government whichever is less.

2.The survey methodology for the next BPL census will be designed by the Ministry of Rural Development in consultation with the Supreme Court Commissioners in the right to food matter Case No. 196/2001 along with other sections of the society latest by the beginning of the XI Five Year Plan.

3.Provisions will be made to allow new names to be added and ineligible names deleted from the BPL List 2002 on a continuous basis during the period that the list will be applicable."

Order of 12 July 2006 [top]
After having heard learned counsel for the parties, we find that there is practically no monitoring over the sums allotted for the Public Distribution System (in short PDS) by the Central Government, and its utilisation. The amount involved, we are told, is in the neighbourhood of Rupees Thirty Thousand Crores annually.

Certain suggestions have been given by Mr. Colin Gonsalves, learned senior counsel, as to the modalities to be adopted in such cases. At the present stage, we feel it would be necessary to constitute a Central Vigilance Committee, headed by a retired Judge of this Court to be assisted by Dr. M.C. Saxena, the Commissioner earlier appointed by this Court. We request Mr. Justice D.P. Wadhwa to head the Committee.

The Committee shall look into the maladies which are affecting the proper functioning of the system, and also suggest remedial measures. For this purpose, the Committee shall, amongst other things, focus on: -
a) The mode of appointment of the dealers,
b) The ideal commission or the rates payable to the dealers, and
c) Modalities as to how the Committees already in place, can function better.
d) Modes as to how there can be transparency in allotment of the food stock to be sold at the shops.

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