Consider adopting one nation, one ration card, says SC

Supreme Court asks Centre to consider adopting 'one nation, one ration card' during coronavirus lockdown

The Supreme Court has directed the Union government to consider the feasibility of implementing 'one nation, one ration card' scheme at this stage, in order to safeguard the right of migrant workers to get subsidised food grains during the period of lockdown to contain COVID-19.

A bench of Justices N V Raman, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and B R Gavai asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to take appropriate decision in view of the present circumstances.

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Advocate Reepak Kansal, appearing for himself in a PIL, pointed out that 'one nation, one ration card' scheme, framed by the central government was going to start from June 2020. However, in view of COVID-19 pandemic, the said scheme should be implemented forthwith to ensure no migrant worker remained without food.

"We direct the Union government to consider whether it is feasible for it to implement the said scheme at this stage or not and take appropriate decision in this regard keeping in view the present circumstances," the bench said.

The court passed its order on Monday, disposing of the PIL.

The plea filed by Kansal had asked the court to ensure food, temporary shelter and medical aid to the migrants labourers or employees or citizens who were locked in their rented premises or were in transit on roads, national highways due to lockdown.

He said it was important to ensure that the poor do not go hungry if they did not local ration cards.  

Lakhs of migrant workers remained stuck in several states after the countrywide lockdown was announced on March 24 to fight COVID-19 pandemic. The 21-day lockdown was subsequently extended up to May 3.