New Delhi, May 7: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed the city government to put up within three days complaint boxes at all Public Distribution System (PDS) and non-PDS distribution centres. 

The court’s order came while hearing a plea which had contended that people in the city were not availing the free ration services of the government, The Hindustan Times reported. A bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Talwant Singh also asked the government to file a compliance report on the steps taken by the government to ensure that all the poor and needy are provided ration.

The court’s order comes while hearing a plea by NGO Delhi Rozi Roti Abhiyan Adhikaar, which had contended that many people are still not getting rations. The plea had also pointed out that the government has introduced e-coupons for people did not have a ration card. However, obtaining an e-coupon would require a person to have a smartphone, and knowing know how to fill in details and upload photographs.

On Wednesday, during the video conference hearing, the court was informed by senior advocate Sanjay Parikh, who represented the petitioners, that many ration shops were closed during working hours. Around 38% of the shops, which volunteers of the NGO visited between April 29 and 30, were found to be closed.

The counsel also submitted that the system of issuing e-coupons to those who do not have ration cards was inaccessible to the most vulnerable as it required a smartphone, ability to use the internet, generate OTP, upload photos of the family and a copy of the Aadhaar card and finally to download the e-coupon. The NGO suggested that facilitation desks should be set up at all schools and ration shops to give coupons to people who need foodgrains but do not have ration cards and are unable to apply for e-coupons. They also said that the complaint number was inaccessible.

Appearing for the Delhi government, additional standing counsel, Anuj Aggarwal, sought some time from the court to file a detailed compliance affidavit, following which the court granted him four days to file the reply.

The bench also directed that complaint boxes be installed at the PDS shops so that people do not face any problem and posted the matter to May 11 for further hearing.

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