Implement 'One Nation, One Ration Card' by July 31: SC

Implement 'One Nation, One Ration Card' scheme by July 31: SC to states

Continue community kitchens for migrant workers: SC

Representative image. Credit: iStock

The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed all the States to implement the One Nation One Ration Card scheme by July 31, 2021, saying they are duty bound to do it as this was a welfare scheme in the interest of poor and marginal sections of the society. 

A bench presided over by Justice Ashok Bhushan also ordered the Centre and States to provide dry ration to migrant workers and continue running community kitchens for them as they faced hardships due to the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

"The fundamental right to life enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution may be interpreted to include right to live with human dignity, which may include the right to food and other basic necessities," the bench, also comprising Justice M R Shah, said.

Passing a slew of directions on an application filed by advocate Prashant Bhushan on behalf of activists Harsh Mander, Anjali Bhardwaj and Jagdeep Chhokar, the top court told the Centre to allocate and distribute food grains as per demands of state governments for the migrant workers. 

The top court also directed the Centre and state governments to complete the registration of all migrant workers, including those from unorganised sectors, by July 31, 2021. 

However, the court refused to issue any direction for direct cash transfer to workers, saying it was a matter of policy and fell in domain of the State.

The court pointed out most of the states have made a scheme for direct bank transfers to construction workers, ranging from Rs 1,000 to Rs 6,000. Few states included auto rickshaw drivers and some other categories. 

In its 80-page judgement, the court noted only states of Assam, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and West Bengal have yet not implemented One Nation One Ration Card scheme, which provided for the nation-wide portability of the National Food Security Act Ration card.

"When migrant workers are spread throughout the country, each State has to implement the scheme, which is a necessary welfare measure towards food security to this class of persons," the bench said.

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