Kolkata: In a setback to the state government, the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday said that the Bengal government’s ‘Duare Ration’(ration at doorstep) is ‘ultra vires’.
“In view of our discussion, we are constrained to hold, in fine, that “Duare Ration Scheme” is ultra vires to the ‘National Food Security Act, 2013’ and is, therefore, a nullity in the eye of the law,” read the part of the court’s order.
The order was passed by the division bench of Justices Chitta Ranjan Dash and Aniruddha Roy.
“We are, therefore, constrained to hold that the State Government has transgressed the limit of delegation by obliging the Fair Price Shop dealers to distribute the rations to the beneficiaries at their doorstep in absence of any authority to that effect in the enabling Act i.e. ‘NFS Act’.” “If the ‘NFS Act’ is amended by the wisdom of the Union Legislature i.e. Parliament for doorstep delivery of food grains to the beneficiaries or invest any such power to the State Government then only such a scheme can be made by the State and that can be said to be in sync with the enabling Act.,” the court said.
The observation of the division bench of the Calcutta High Court comes at a time when the fair price shop dealers had challenged the order of a single bench of the High Court that there was no illegality in the scheme.
It may be noted that on June 16 the single bench of Justice Krishna Rao observed that the state government’s decision to deliver food grains at the doorsteps of the beneficiaries ‘cannot be said to be in violation of any provision of the NFS Act’.
It is pertinent to mention that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee started the ‘Duare Ration’ scheme after the Trinamool Congress government came to power for the third time last year.
TMC MP Saugata Roy said that this scheme was started by the Chief Minister in keeping with the ‘benefit of the common people’.
Senior CPI (M) leader Sujan Chakraborty said, “On one hand, the TMC government is trying to show that they are there for the people and on the other hand rice and crops are being stolen.”