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While I fully agree with the proposition of law laid down by the Supreme Court, I cannot accept the submission made on behalf of the state respondents that the petitioners have no right to challenge the impugned notification if the classification of the ration card holder is found to be arbitrary, unreasonable and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution. SUDDHADEB ADAK, ADVOCATES FOR THE STATE IN CONNECTION WITH ABOVE WRIT PETITIONS MR. By referring to paragraph 9 of the Judgement in “Mani Subrat Jain V. Datta submits that the petitioners have no judicially enforceable right as well as legally protected right and as such the petitioners cannot pray for issuance of mandamus in connection with the impugned notification. By referring to the provision of paragraphs 2 (b),(c),(e) and (f) of the West Bengal Public Distribution System (Maintenance and Control ) Order 2013, he submits that ration cards have been issued to families living above poverty line (APL).families living below poverty line (BPL).families considered to be poorest among the families belonging to the below poverty line (AAY) and persons identified for distribution of food grains of specified quantity on monthly basis under Annurpana Scheme. Mukherjee argues that economic criteria are totally ignored by making classification on the basis of geographical location and on the basis of possession of digitized and nondigitized ration cards which are arbitrary, unreasonable and irrational and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution. Mukherjee is that the State has treated the unequals as equals and the equals as unequals and thereby violated the principle embodied in Article 14 of the Constitution. SUDDHADEVADAK, ADVOCATS FOR THE STATE IN CONNECTION WITH ABOVE WRIT PETITIONS. TAPAN BHANJA, ADVOCATE FOR UNION OF INDIA(RESPONDENT NO.5.) IN W. The common grievance of the writ petitioners is that the above classification of the ration card holders for obtaining S. Oil at subsidised rate as essential commodity is discriminatory, arbitrary and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution. Sakti Nath Mukherjee, learned senior Counsel appearing on behalf of some petitioners contends that the State has already identified the families on the basis of economic criteria for issuance of various categorize of ration cards for distribution of essential commodity through public distribution system.
By relying on the paragraphs 59 and 60 of “Shri Sitaram Sugar Company Limited V. Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya, learned senior counsel appearing on behalf of the applicants contends that classification of holders of the ration cards on the basis of geographical location justified for the purpose of equitable distribution of S. He further submits that there is need of digitization of the ration cards for getting benefit of the foodgrains under the Food Security Act of 2013 and almost 90% of the ration cards have already been digitized by the State. Bhattacharyya, the execution of microscopic percentage of the ration card holders from getting maximum benefit of S. Oil cannot be a ground to challenge the impugned notification issued by the State. The identification of geographical location can be made by the State on the basis of availability of electricity and on the basis of cold climatic condition as per guidelines given by the learned Single Judge and affirmed by the Division Bench. No explanation is forthcoming before this Court how some remote blocks of district of Bankura and all blocks of district of Darjeeling having cold climatic condition have been excluded from the fi Rs.category of ration card holde are entitled to get one litre of S. The classification of the ration card holders in the impugned notification has no reasonable nexus with the object of equitable distribution of S. Oil as essential commodity through public distribution system, which is the object of both the West Bengal Kerosene Control Order, 1968 and the Essential Commodities Act, 1955. By referring to paragraphs 11 and 12 of the Judgement in “ Ramana Dayaram V. He has also pointed out that the impugned notification has not been published in the Official gazettee as per provision of Section 3(5) of the Essential Commodities Act,1955. DEBASISH GHOSH, ADVOCATE FOR PETITIONER IN WP NO.19544(W) 2017 MR. Mukherjee submits that discretion of the State in the matter of grant of largess including the award of jobs, contracts, licences be confined and structured by rational, relevant and non- discriminatory standard or norms and if the State departs from such standard or norms in any particular case or cases, the action of the State would be liable to be struck down, unless it can be shown by the State that the departure was not arbitrary, but was based on some valid principle which in itself was not irrational, unreasonable or discriminatory. Anindya Kumar Mitra, learned senior Counsel appearing on behalf of some petitioners submits that the impugned notification is ex facie void. Mitra has relied on the decision of the Supreme Court in “ Suneel Jatley V. Kishore Datta, learned Advocate General representing the state-respondents contends that there are three categories of petitioners who have challenged the impugned notification.
ARKADIPTA SENGUPTA, ADVOCATES FOR THE PETITIONER IN WP NO.19627(W) OF2017MR. International Airport Authority of India” reported in AIR1979SC1628 Mr. State of Tamil Nadu” reported in (1994) 2 SCC691learned Advocate General contends that this Court cannot consider the validity of public policy of the State, particularly when the public policy is taken by the State for equitable distribution of essential commodity like S. In the instant case, petitioners have challenged the impugned notification for violation of fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution and as such I am unable to accept the above contention made on behalf of the state respondents.