The Supreme Court Thursday left it open to the Centre, concerned states and union territories to consider the issue of providing ration to those who do not have ration card and also for universalisation of public distribution system (PDS).
A bench headed by Justice N V Ramana, which heard a plea in this regard through video-conferencing, said this is a "policy issue" and the government should consider it.
The bench, also comprising Justices S K Kaul and B R Gavai, noted in its order that during the hearing, the counsel appearing for the petitioner had confined the prayer for providing ration to those people who do not have ration card and for universalisation of PDS.
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"This being a policy issue, it is left open to the Government of India and also the concerned states/union territories to consider such relief," the bench said in its order.
The bench, which disposed of the plea, directed the petitioner to serve a copy of the petition to Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.
During the hearing, the bench said it had already passed order regarding universalisation of PDS.
The petitioner's counsel said that orders passed earlier only cover those who already have ration cards and states like Telangana and Delhi have allowed PDS distribution to those who do not have ration cards.
The bench, which observed that it is largely a state subject, said it is for the government to see what other documents apart from ration cards can be used.
The top court had recently asked the Centre to consider the feasibility of 'temporarily' adopting the 'one nation, one ration card' scheme during the ongoing coronavirus lockdown period to enable migrant workers and economically weaker sections (EWS) get subsidised foodgrain.
The central government scheme in this regard is scheduled to be launched in June this year.Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.