Questions must be raised as to which circumstances led the Supreme Court to direct the Central government to provide additional 50 lakh tonne food grains for 150 poor districts in the country? Answer must also be sought as to why the Apex Court ordered that allocation of these additional food grains must be done under the surveillance of the committee formed by it? Don’t these questions hint at the fact that the Judiciary has been forced to intervene in the process which actually the Government is obliged to carry? Undoubtedly the empathy exhibited by the Supreme Court towards poor and down-trodden is commendable. The fact that it has already formed a committee which has studied the loopholes in the Public Distribution System (PDS) is also praiseworthy, but all such measures are the responsibility of Central and state governments. Undoubtedly, the Judiciary is not responsible for a smooth functioning of the PDS, but the laxity of Central and state governments have forced the former to walk extra mile to protect the rights of poor. It’s ironical that despite repeated warnings from the Apex Court to the Centre and state governments, things have not improved on that front. The Supreme Court was once again forced to direct the Centre to ensure that nobody in the country dies of hunger. The way the Supreme Court concluded that process of foodgrain allocation is faulty it seems nobody is even concerned that how imperative it has become to improve the things in the aforesaid context.

If the Supreme Court can perceive that the provision to grant 35 kg food grains to all BPL families is not right when it comes to evaluating its impact over small and big families, why can’t the planners understand this simple basic observation? The Supreme Court’s direction to allocate additional 50 lakh tonne foodgrain to 150 poor districts is once again hinting at the unused grains rotting in the government warehouses. It is a well known fact that due to lack of logistics available in government warehouses to store foodgrain safely several thousand tonnes of food grains go waste, but when the Centre is advised to distribute such foodgrain amongst the poor, the Judiciary is asked not to breach the Constitutional provision of Separation of Powers. What can be more tragic than the fact that food grains keep rotting in godowns while countrymen keep dying of hunger? A submission by the Planning Commission in the Supreme Court punctures the hollow claims of the Centre that it’s committed to protect the interests of the common man. The Planning Commission submitted in the Apex Court that government has decided to earmark people earning Rs 20 per day in rural areas and Rs 30 per day in urban areas as those living Below Poverty Line (BPL). It shows that our policy makers are not even ashamed of presenting unimaginative and unnatural figures. It’s unlikely that the Supreme Court’s direction to the Central government would have any positive impact on policies of the latter.