Duare Ration Scheme Is Ultra Vires The National Food Security Act: Calcutta HC Declares Bengal Govt's Hyped Project Illegal
The Division Bench of Calcutta High Court has declared that the West Bengal Government's Duare Ration Scheme Ultra Vires to the National Food Security Act, 2013.
"In view of our discussion supra we are constrained to hold, in fine, that "Duare Ration Scheme" is ultra vires the 'National Food Security Act, 2013' and is therefore a nullity in the eye of law.", the bench of Justice Aniruddha Roy and Justice Chitta Ranjan Dash held.
This Judgment came on an appeal filed by fair price shop dealers challenging the Order passed by the Single Bench of the High Court holding that there was no illegality in the scheme.
Senior Advocate Joydip Kar and Advocate Debajyoti Datta appeared for the Appellants whereas Advocate General S.N. Mookherjee appeared for the State.
The Bench observed that "Hon'ble Single Judges in reaching their conclusion in the writ petitions, orders passed in which are under challenge before us, have not properly construed the "benefits" spoken of supra, the meaning of "welfare scheme" that the State can undertake and the role assigned to the State Government in different Sections of the Act and Their Lordships in their individual capacity in different Bench having proceeded on wrong premises have arrived at wrong conclusions."
The Court observed that the State Government 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'.
"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 held.
Accordingly, the Court set aside the Order passed by the Single Bench.
The West Bengal Government introduced the Duare Ration Scheme in November 2021. "Duare Ration" which are Bengali terms in English means "door step delivery of ration".
Cause Title- Sekh Abdul Majed v. State of West Bengal & Ors. with Anr.