The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre to respond to a PIL filed in the court alleging that the government had cancelled as many as three crore ration cards across states because of non-seeding with Aadhaar. The PIL further added that the action was leading to starvation deaths in many states.
A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, who initially didn’t approve to entertain the PIL, later sent a notice to the Centre when senior advocate Colin Gonsalves claimed that the lack of internet services in tribal and remote areas lack has led to non-seeding of ration cards with Aadhaar details leading to the cancellation of ration cards and depriving the poor foodgrains under the public distribution system.
As the PIL was filed, additional solicitor general Aman Lekhi, appearing for the Centre, said that the government is dedicated to implementing the SC’s K Puttaswamy case judgment wherein it was directed that non-verification of ration cards with Aadhaar details will not lead to denial of ration to poor. He added that the petitioner’s PIL was ill-informed and wrong.
The bench said it was issuing notice on the petition only because of the allegations that ration cards were cancelled because of non-seeding with Aadhaar. “If true, this is a serious issue,” the bench said.
The petitioner said, “Insistence on Aadhaar and biometric authentication has led to cancellation of nearly three crore ration cards in the country according to the Union of India. The Union of India casually gives an explanation that these cancelled cards were bogus.
The real reason is that the technological system based on iris identification, thumb prints, possession of Aadhaar, functioning of the internet in rural and remote areas etc led to largescale cancellation of ration cards without notice to the family concerned.”
The petitioner added that the termination of ration cards has and can lead to depriving of food to millions of people who depend on the same for their livelihood.