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March 2024

Ration card is for PDS, not address proof: Delhi HC

New Delhi, A ration card is issued exclusively for obtaining essential commodities under the public distribution system and it cannot be considered a proof of address or residence, the Delhi High Court has said. Justice Chandra Dhari Singh, while dealing with petitions by erstwhile residents of Kathputli Colony seeking an alternative accommodation under the rehabilitation scheme following the re-development of the area, held that the requirement of a ration card as a mandatory document to claim benefit under the scheme was arbitrary and illegal. “As per the definition of the Ration Card, the intent of issuing the same is that it aims to distribute the essential food items by way of the fair price shops. Therefore, it does not amount to becoming an identity proof of residence for any Ration Card holder,” said the court in a recent order. “There is no mechanism set up by the authority issuing Ration Cards to ensure that the holder of the ration card is staying at the address mentioned in the ration card. “The aim of the ration card is to ensure that the citizens of this country are provided foodgrains at a reasonable price. Hence, it is not a reliable source of proof of address since the scope is limited to distribution of food items by way of the Public Distribution System,” the court observed. The petitioners contended that authorities breached their trust and played fraud on Kathputli Colony slum dwellers by suddenly changing the eligibility criteria in 2015 after the demolition of the entire colony as they wrongly mandated the requirement of a separate ration card for the first-floor dwellers of jhuggi. The court noted that a gazette notification issued by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution in 2015 itself disallows the use of a ration card as a document of identity or proof of residence, and in Delhi, fresh ration cards were not being issued on account of it having exhausted its state-wise ceiling of number of eligible households as per the 2011 census. Remarking that authorities should have “introspected” into the intent and motive behind the issuance of ration cards as well as the harassment and pain caused to the petitioners, the court stated, “The requirement of a Ration Card as a mandatory document to be produced before the respondent as a proof to claim that first floor of the jhuggi is a separate dwelling unit is arbitrary and illegal”. “The respondent should have exercised due caution and care before adhering to such a requirement. It should take a fair and realistic view of the circumstances before it.. the actions of the respondent are in clear violation of the petitioners’ right to shelter as enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India,” stated the court. The court directed authorities to allocate an alternative dwelling unit in favour of the petitioners, subject to the condition that they produce other relevant documents as per the Delhi Slum & JJ Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy, 2015 and meet necessary requirements. “This court is also of the view that the petitioners’ right to housing shall be kept at the highest pedestal. It is one of the safeguards provided in our Constitution and the legacy has been carried forward by the writ Court by way of various judicial precedents which reiterate the same,” the court asserted. Mar 07,2024 Source: Economic Times

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Consumer affairs department directs companies to join govt’s ‘Right to Repair’ initiative

NEW DELHI: Consumer affairs department on Friday directed companies in automobile, consumer durables, mobile and electronics, and farming equipment to join govt’s “Right to Repair” initiative. It also instructed water purifiers companies to share the life of candles and other consumables based on geographical areas and water alkalinity so that consumers know their status rather than completely relying on the company representatives for replacing them. The department has launched the Right to Repair Portal India that provides consumers to avail repair associated information for their products and reduce e-waste. At a meeting with industry players, consumer affairs secretary Rohit Kumar Singh directed companies to get onboard the platform. “During the meeting it was highlighted that a product that cannot be repaired or falls under planned obsolescence i.e. designed to have an artificially limited life, not only becomes e-waste but also forces the consumers to buy new products for want of any repair to reuse it. Hence, the idea is to ensure that when a consumer buys a product, she/ he has full ownership of the product and in case of repair, the consumers are not deceived in absence of relevant information,” the department said. Officials said on the basis of grievances registered at National Consumer Helpline, govt observed that repairs are getting severely restricted because not only are there considerable delay in repairs but at times these are priced exorbitantly high and the consumer who has once bought the product is hardly given any choice. “Prominent company of water purifiers wherein large number of complaints were witnessed and were directed to furnish the average life span of their candles and other consumables based on specific geographies and water alkalinity. In the interest of consumers it was emphasised that in sectors wherein availability of spare parts, genuine reparability, exaggerated conditions of warranty is not addressed clearly, it also affects the consumers right to be informed,” the department said. Mar 08,2024 Source: TOI

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UCO Bank IMPS scam: CBI raids 67 locations in Rajasthan, Maharashtra

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has conducted raids across 67 locations in Rajasthan and Maharashtra in connection with the suspicious IMPS transactions worth Rs 820 crore reported at UCO Bank. On March 6, the CBI raided ‘extensive search operations’ in Rajasthan (including Jodhpur, Jaipur, Jalore, Nagaur, Barmer, Phalodi) and Pune (Maharashtra). “During these operations, approximately 130 incriminating documents related to UCO Bank and IDFC, as well as 43 digital devices (including 40 mobile phones, 2 hard disks, and 1 internet dongle) were seized for forensic analysis,” the CBI said in a press release. Further, it examined 30 suspects on the spot. The CBI had previously raided 13 locations in the case. The case was registered in late November 2023, on a complaint from UCO Bank. It has been alleged that between November 10 and 11, IMPS inward transactions from around 14,600 account holders of seven private banks were wrongfully posted in the accounts of over 41,000 UCO Bank account holders. As a result, Rs 820 crore was credited to UCO Bank accounts without the money actually being debited from their originating banks. “Numerous account holders have exploited this situation, making wrongful gains by withdrawing funds through various banking channels,” CBI said. Earlier in December 2023, searches were conducted at 13 locations involving private individuals and UCO Bank officials in Kolkata and Mangaluru. Mar 07,2024 Source: Economic Times

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