New Delhi: The Supreme Court has asked the
government to prosecute those involved in pilferage of PDS
foodgrains and said it was a crime to waste even a single
grain in the country where "people are starving".
"In a country where admittedly people are starving, it is
a crime to waste even a single grain. The official statement
made by the government indicates that there is wastage of food
at many places. The government may consider constructing
adequate warehouses or food storage facilities on a long-term
"On a short term basis, they can also consider hiring
warehouses or putting up water-proof tents to save the grain.
But all-out efforts must be made to ensure that not a single
grain is wasted," a Bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and B S
Chauhan said in an order.
Referring to the Justice Wadhwa Committee report on
pilferage, the Bench said the government must make those
entrusted with running the system accountable.
"According to the reports of Justice Wadhwa, there is
pilferage at every stage. To avoid too many stages, the
Union of India may consider that ration be sent to fair price
shops directly from godowns of Food Corporation of India.
"There must be total accountability of all those people
who are responsible and in-charge of PDS and government may
consider taking appropriate steps, including prosecution
against those people who are found responsible for misusing
officials and getting involved in corrupt and unfair
practices," the apex court said.
The Bench also granted two weeks to the Centre to file
its response on the earlier direction to fix a limit of 35 kgs
of rice/wheat for BPL and Antyodaya Anna Yojana cardholders.