Irked with the poor handling of the bogus ration card issue, the Bombay high court, on Tuesday, suggested that the state government could consider linking Aadhaar card with ration cards to facilitate the verification process.
Jayprakash Unecha had filed a public interest litigation alleging that hundreds of bogus ration cards were in use in Pune and other parts of the state two years ago. Taking note of the delay in coming up with a solution to the problem, the division bench of justice AM Khanwilkar and RD Dhanuka said, "Are two years not enough to unravel the mystery?"
Additional public prosecutor Aruna Kamat Pai submitted that the action has been pending since 2005. Pai submitted that, so far, 36 people and 276 government staff involved in the bogus ration card racket have been arrested.
When Pai said that the government is short-staffed and has also been burdened by the new LPG scheme, the court stated that the government is also short of vision. "Link everything to the Aadhaar card and make one team to run it. No great changes need to be made, the state will have to only link the card to the other using a software," the bench remarked.
The court also suggested the constitution of a nodal agency with officials from the departments concerned to look into the issue.
Petitioner's lawyer Shubhada Khot stated that the government is suffering losses because of the delay.
The high court had earlier asked the government to proceed against officers responsible for the illegal practice. The court had asked the government to give a district-wise break-up of fake ration cards and inform what action it proposed to take against errant officials.
Earlier, the state had disclosed that there were 11 lakh bogus ration cards in use. The court has adjourned the hearing till next week.