The Supreme Court on Wednesday, March 17 referred to the cancellation of nearly three crore ration cards by the Centre due to non-linking with Aadhaar card as "too serious", and sought a response from the government on the same.
A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde and justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian said that it is "too serious a matter", reported NDTV.
The PIL has been filed by Koili Devi, whose 11-year-old daughter Santoshi of Jharkhand's Simdega district died of starvation on September 28, 2018. The petition alleged that Santoshi, who belonged to a poor Dalit family, died after the local authorities had cancelled the ration card of her family as they failed to link it with Aadhaar. The family stopped receiving ration from March 2017 and the entire family had been starving, the petition alleged.
Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for petitioner Koili Devi, said that the petition deals with a larger issue.
"We see the problem at hand and I have dealt with this kind of matter in Bombay High Court and I think this matter should be filed before the high court concerned," the CJI said.
Gonsalves said that is an important issue as the government has cancelled around three crore ration cards.
Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi said it is a wrong statement made by Gonsalves that the government has cancelled the ration cards.
"We are asking you to respond because of the Aadhaar issue. This is not adversarial litigation. We will hear it finally. Issue notice returnable in four weeks," the bench told the centre.
Lekhi said that notice has already been issued in the matter and the Centre's response is on record. Gonsalves, however, said that no notice has been issued on the main plea.
The principle issue is the cancellation of three crore ration cards and starvation death, Gonsalves said.
On December 9, 2019, the top court had sought responses from all the states over allegations of starvation deaths of people who were deprived of their ration supplies for not having valid Aadhaar cards. The Centre had earlier claimed that the deaths were not due to starvation.
No one was denied food because of the lack of a valid Aadhaar card, the government had said.