The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to consider the feasibility of ‘temporarily’ adopting the ‘one nation, one ration card’ scheme during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic lockdown period to enable the migrant workers, destitutes and economically weaker sections (EWS) get subsidised foodgrain.
The “One Nation One Ration Card” scheme is scheduled to be launched in June 2020 by the Central Government.
A bench of Justices N V Ramana, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and B R Gavai, in an order passed on monday said:
“We direct the Union of India 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 further stated that the “Government is looking after these things”.
The petition filed by Advocate Reepak Kansal and AoR Sanjay Kumar Visen sought the advanced implementation of the “One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) “scheme to ensure availability of subsidised food grains to beneficiaries who are presently aggrieved amid the ongoing Coronavirus crisis.
To effectuate the same, it was prayed that the “One Nation One Umbrella (ONOU)” scheme may be temporarily adopted so that the rights of migrant workers and the destitute are safeguarded by the Union and State Governments. The plea said-
“The scheme of “One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC)” announced by the Central Government which is about to start in the month of June, 2020. Due to lack of scheme of One Nation One Rashan Card and another policy / circular / notification by the Central Government to protect the rights of laborers / employees/ small businessman / daily wagers / tourists etc, in regard to protect the lives and health of the above-said sections. The said section of the society has not been getting benefits of schemes of Central Government and State Governments including subsidized food grains, shelter and medical facilities (Except Corona Treatment)”.
He brought the provisions of Article 21 of the Constitution, which provides for “Protection of life”, into light and plead that the apex court must guide the Central Government to adopt “ONOU” and provide basic needs to the above-said sections of the society.
He also sought direction to authorities for ensuring migrant labourers who are at present staying in rented premises or in transit camps do not go hungry for want of local identity cards or any identity cards.
By Adarsh Mishra of ICFAI Law School, Dehradun