An angry Supreme Court slammed Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar for not acting on its advice to distribute for free foodgrain rotting in the open across the country. Clearly unhappy, it said the advice was part of its order and not just a suggestion.
"We read in some news reports that what we said was not part of the order. Please ensure no such statements are made by the (agriculture) ministry as it (suggestion) is a part of the order," the court said.
On August 19, Pawar had said it wasn't possible to distribute grains for free. But after the reprimand, he said the court’s orders would be "honoured".
The court had ordered distribution of free grains to the poor after HT had reported that tonnes of grains lay rotting in open-air godowns. The HT reports were quoted extensively during the hearing of the case.
The court also issued orders for fresh poverty estimates and asked the government not to rely on old figures to allot subsidised grains to the poor.
The issue led to an impromptu discussion in Lok Sabha too.