Monday, September 6, 2010

No confrontation on issue of foodgrains for poor: Centre to SC

NEW DELHI: The Centre on Monday told the Supreme Court that it has no intention of having "any confrontation" with it on the issue of distribution of foodgrains to the poor in the country.

Additional solicitor general Mohan Parasaran submitted to a bench comprising Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Deepak Verma that wrong reports were appearing in a section of the press giving an impression that the government wants to have a confrontation with the judiciary on the issue.

Parasaran also placed on record an affidavit highlighting the various measures taken by the government to distribute foodgrains at affordable prices to the needy population.

The apex court, while taking on record the affidavit, said it was "very happy" at the comprehensive reply filed by the government in pursuance of its earlier direction for supply of foodgrains at "low cost" or "at no cost".

However, the government affidavit is silent on the apex court's direction for free distribution of food grains to the poor instead of allowing it to rot.

The ASG told the apex court that pursuant to its earlier direction, the Centre has decided to allocate 25 lakh additional tons of foodgrains to states and Union Territories for distribution at BPL prices.

The court's direction has earlier generated a controversy after Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar claimed that the government was not bound to supply free foodgrains to the people as the court had only made a suggestion and it was not a direction.

The apex court, however, clarified on August 31 that it was an order and not a mere suggestion.

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