Don’t insist on biometrics to supply ration: High Court

The Telangana High Court on Wednesday directed the government to distribute rice and other essentials to all tribals in the State without insisting on biometric authentications.

A Bench of Justice M.S. Ramachandra Rao and Justice K. Lakshman, having taken up a letter written by social activist S.Q. Masood as PIL petition, observed that there could be technical glitches in matching biometric identifiers like fingerprint, palm print or face recognition. Factors like working in extreme climatic conditions and age could affect the biometric identifiers of tribals. In such circumstances, insisting on biometric authentication could deprive them of securing essentials supplied by government during lockdown period, the Bench said. The Bench asked the government as to why it cancelled thousands of white rations cards without prior notice to the respective card-holders. The cards were issued apparently after the authorities conducted proper inquiries. Hence, the cancellation of the same can not be justified.

Advocate General B.S. Prasad assured the Bench that all beneficiaries, including those whose ration cards were cancelled, would be provided 12 kg rice and other essentials without insisting on production of ration cards. Migrant workers living in the State, who would have left their ration cards back home, should also be given the 12 kg rice and other groceries, the Bench said.

The petitioner contended that a large number of poor families were being denied help as their white ration cards were cancelled by the government. Many families below poverty line were suffering in the lockdown period as they could not find work while the government was not providing them any relief on the pretext of their cancelled cards.

Hearing another PIL plea, the bench directed the government to provide ₹1,500 one-time financial assistance to all white ration card holders in the State during the lockdown.

The card holders should not denied of the financial assistance even if they had not collected ration in the past three months, the bench said.

While announcing the assistance, the government said those who had not taken ration in past three months were not eligible to avail it. Referring to cancellation of white ration cards by the government, the bench said the decision would affect thousands of poor families and more so during the lockdown.

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Printable version | Jun 17, 2021 5:20:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/dont-insist-on-biometrics-to-supply-ration-high-court/article31577293.ece

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