Bombay HC grants interim relief to Fair Price shopkeepers for non-collection of Adhar Data, says no document indicates that its part of their duty

Bombay High Court: In a letter dated 21st November, 2016, Tahsildar, Miraj of Sangli district had ordered all the Fair Price Shops to collect data of adhar card, bank account details, copies of bank pass books and cell phone numbers of the ration card holders allotted to their shops. Another letter dated 28th November, 2016 communicated to the shop keepers that was that unless the beneficiaries of the scheme are not holding adhar cards, no food grain will be given to them.

The data that the shopkeepers were asked to furnish was not furnished by them. It was that condition that if the data asked for is not submitted on time that was by evening of 21st November, then the kerosene quota of the shopkeepers could be cancelled. All Maharashtra Fair Price Shopkeepers Federation, Pune (Registered) filed a writ petition under Article 226  for an interim relief for they apprehended that either the release of the quota of food grains and kerosene of the members of the petitioner will be stopped or the same will be reduced on account of non-compliance with the communications. AGP informed the Court that no quota for food grains was reduced while the quota for kerosene was reduced. The Court observed that there is no document to show that it is the duty of the persons holding authorization to run fair price shops to collect the data specified in letters and therefore, it was wrong to penalise them for non-compliance of the said communications.

Accordingly, the Court granted the interim relief to petitioners by directing that no quota of kerosene should be withdrawn. The judge also clarified that the interim relief granted by him would not prevent the respondents from withholding the supply on any other legally permissible grounds. [All Maharashtra Fair Price Shopkeepers Federation, Pune (Registered) v. State of Maharashtra, 2017 SCC OnLine Bom 169, dated 31st January 2017]

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