The Delhi High Court today issued notice in a plea to direct the Delhi government to resume hunger relief centres and supply dry rations to the needy amid the second wave of COVID-19.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh sought a response from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government.
Stating that “delay will cause hunger and injustice”, Senior Advocate Sanjay Parikh, appearing for the Delhi Rozi-Roti Adhikar Abhiyan, sought “urgent relief” from the Court and urged it to take the matter up on April 26.
The Court, however, proceeded to list the matter for further hearing on May 13.
The application is part of a 2017 writ petition which challenges the Centre’s move making Aadhaar mandatory for accessing subsidized food grains under the National Food Security Act, 2013.
Parikh argued that while the lockdown imposed on account of COVID-19 was over, the distress was continuing.
It is the applicant’s case that there is a need to issue urgent effective directions to ensure that the needy do not go hungry on account of the ongoing second wave of COVID-19 and the freshly ordered restrictions in Delhi.
“…demand for food among those that are needy far outweigh what concerned citizens, some political parties and private Non-governmental organisations are able to arrange – particularly in these times of curfews and lockdowns and that the State ought not to abdicate its duty toward ensuring that no one goes hungry in the national capital,” the application reads.
It is thus prayed that the earlier measures taken in April–June 2020 to ensure food for the needy be continued.
These measures include providing free hot cooked meals through homeless shelters and dedicated relief centres. Also sought is ration to all persons in need of food security, irrespective of whether they possess a ration card, and ensuring hot cooked meals for pregnant and lactating women through anganwadis under the National Food Security Act, the Mid-Day Meal Scheme (MDM) and Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS).
In April last year, the High Court had issued a slew of directions to ensure that all ration shops remained operational and disbursed food grains through the public distribution system (PDS).
The Court had directed the AAP government to ensure delivery of the requisite food grains from the PDS ration shops, on a regular basis between 9:00 am to 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm, on all seven days of the week.
Senior Advocate Parikh appeared with Advocate Prasanna S.