At, High Court of Andhra Pradesh
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE NOOTY RAMAMOHANA RAO
For the Petitioner: B. Vijaysen Reddy, Advocate. For the Respondents: Government Pleader for Civil Supplies.
Both these writ petitions can be disposed of by a common order, as the issue raised is common.
These writ petitions are instituted by the authorised fair price shop dealers of Roopkhanpet Village, Chevella Revenue Division, Parigi Mandal, Rangareddy District and Parigi Village and Mandal, Rangareddy District. They are aggrieved by the action of the respondents in seeking to bifurcate their shops into two for which p
Please Login To View The Full Judgment!
rpose, a notification was issued on 29.10.2009.The State undertakes distribution of essential commodities through public distribution system to achieve more than one social goal. It is the primary obligation of the State to ensure that essential commodities are made available at a reasonable price to a vast majority of population, which are classified as belonging to “below poverty line” (BPL). This will ensure that the heavily subsidised essential commodities like rice, wheat, pulses, edible oils and cooking medium like kerosene oil become available at an affordable price for those who hold the BPL cards. This apart, the food grains, which have been procured from the farmers are distributed for their eventual consumption, thus the interest of the farmers and farming community is also taken care to a certain extent. More importantly, reasonably good living conditions can be ensured in the society at large. Thus, the primary objective of a socialist republic is achieved by the State in the process. Constant rationalisation of the public distribution system for securing improved efficiency is undertaken. The task of providing iris based civil supplies ration cards has secured an increase of approximately 25 lakh new ration cards across the State. Though there were already more than 41,000 fair price shops established, the new addition of 25 lakhs cardholders called for greater rationalisation of the fair price shops as well as the public distribution system. For achieving these objectives, the State Government has taken certain policy measures and announced the same through their G.O.Ms.No.35 Consumer Affairs Food and Civil Supplies (CS-1) Department dated 17.09.2007. The State Government considered it appropriate to direct the authorities to scrupulously follow the rationalisation norm for the fair price shops and dealing with the fair price shops at rural areas, it has been specified that a number of iris based ration cards to be attached to each fair price shop is 400 to 450 BPL and 50 pink cards. The fair price shops at Roopkhanpet and Parigi Villages are rural fair price shops. Therefore, as per the rationalised norms prescribed by the State Government, a minimum of 400 and up to 450 BPL cards should be attached to one such fair price shop. If there are pink cards available, which are otherwise being slowly reduced in numbers, 50 such pink cards should also be attached to a fair price shop in a rural area. These minimum numbers have been worked out taking into consideration the total quantity of food grains and other essential commodities that might get distributed by the shopkeeper. As is well known, the shopkeepers get remunerated only by way of margin money/commission, which they earn depending upon the quantum of essential commodities distributed by them during the month. Therefore, the fair price shops should also become a viable proposition so that there will be adequate incentive for the shopkeeper to be honest in distributing the essential commodities. Further, the incentives should be such that, the shopkeeper shall not get tempted in any manner to indulge in unscrupulous and unethical practices of under-weighment while supplying the essential commodities. Therefore, the State has struck a reasonable balance between the interests of the cardholders as well as the fair price shop dealers in rationalising the norms as announced through their G.O.Ms.No.35 dated 17.09.2007. It is, therefore, absolutely essential for the respondents to scrupulously follow the said norms and based upon such norms only, the bifurcation of the fair price shops at Roopkhanpet and Parigi Villages be attempted. In any event, so long as the writ petitioners continue to be the authorised fair price shop dealers in Roopkhanpet and Parigi Villages, a minimum of 400 BPL cards and preferably 50 pink cards, if available, should be ensured to be attached to their respective shops.With this, the writ petitions stand disposed of and the impugned notification can be given effect to. There shall be no order as to costs.
"2012 (3) ALT 626" == "2012 (3) ALD 10"