The Delhi High Court issued a notice to the Centre on a plea challenging the constitutional validity of the relief package introduced during the Covid lockdown, alleging exclusion of a large number of beneficiaries under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY).
Hearing the Public Interest Litigation (PIL), a division bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla directed the Centre to file their response in the matter within eight weeks and posted the matter for October 20.
The PIL contended issues including the Jan Dhan account criterion and regarding free cylinders under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY).
The plea filed by Delhi resident Akash Goel through Advocate Prashant Bhushan stated that the condition of having a Jan Dhan account as a prerequisite for availing the ex-gratia of Rs 500 under the PMGKY was an “exclusionary” criterion.
It contended that crores of intended beneficiaries have been excluded from availing of the benefit as they don’t have an active Jan Dhan account.
During the course of the hearing, Standing Counsel Anil Soni representing the Centre, assured that the government will assess the improvements it can make and sought time to file a status report on the matter.
“In light of the mandate of the Union Government to use DBT mechanism to directly transfer funds/subsidy/welfare measures into the accounts of poor/needy persons, there is an immediate need to ease the process of opening of/conversion into PMJDY accounts. Crores of intended beneficiaries have been excluded from availing the benefit of subsidies, DBT scheme benefits or services solely for the reason that they are not active Jan Dhan account holders,” read the PIL.