‘52 lakh ration cards issued to ineligible persons cancelled’

The State government on Thursday gave an undertaking to the Karnataka High Court that it would henceforth publish the list of ration card holders.

Additional Advocate-General K.M. Nataraj gave the undertaking before a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B.V. Nagarathna during the hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed by Minister S.A. Ramdas in 2006 when he was not an elected representative, complaining about issuance of BPL ration cards to ineligible persons.

“Justifiably, the State government is duty bound to publish the list of persons who have been issued with a ration card and this requirement has not been adhered to,” the Bench observed while recording the undertaking given by the government for publishing list of ration card holders.

Meanwhile, the government, which has been filling status report at regular intervals on issuance of ration cards to eligible persons and cancellation of the cards issued to ineligible persons, in its latest report stated that 52 lakh ration cards issued to ineligible persons had been cancelled so far. Further hearing was adjourned to February 14, 2013.

Draft notification

In another case, the government on Thursday informed the court that it would submit a draft notification to grant relief or immunity to officials who have taken action against any person belonging to the Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe, from being prosecuted by such persons under the provisions of the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Submission in this regard was made by government counsel Raveendra G. Kolle when the Bench posed the question on what the State had done to protect forest officials against whom a large number of cases under the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act had been filed after they initiated action against those indulging in poaching or encroaching forest land.

The Bench was hearing a PIL petition initiated suo motu by the court based on a petition from the Karnataka State Range Forest Officers Association and the Karnataka State Assistant Conservators of Forests Association.

It was complained in the petition that during the past one year, in a majority of cases booked by forest officials against those indulging in encroachment of forest land, timber smuggling, poaching, etc., the offenders had lodged counter complaints with the police under the Act. The police, who provide protection to forest officials during such operations, later had registered cases under the Act against the officials.

The Bench adjourned further hearing to January 9, 2013.

Notice

The Bench ordered issue of notice to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on a PIL petition complaining about irregularities in the construction of a mega hostel on the campus of Surathkal-based National Institute of Technology-Karnataka (NIT-K) at a cost of Rs. 100 crore.

While making a series of allegations with regard to the approval of a bid in favour of a private contractor, petitioner Robert John D’souza, a professor in NIT-K, sought a direction for removal of Sandeep Sanchetti, in-charge director of NIT-K, while contending that continuing him in the post was against the statute governing the institute.