Delhi HC: Why is ration card mandatory to avail benefits under Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi?

The Delhi High Court on Friday asked why having a ration card was necessary for a citizen to get financial benefits under the Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi and sought the stand of the Centre and city government on plea by a below poverty line cancer patient to proclaim the mandate illegal and unconstitutional

Delhi High Court

Photo: Getty

The petition of a 30-year-old woman, whose application for financial aid under the programme at AIIMS was denied because she did not have a ration card, was given notice by Justice Yashwant Varma, who also gave the respondents time to provide a response.

The petitioner would not receive the benefit under Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN) without a ration card, according to the court, which would be a failure for the programme itself.

Patients who are below the poverty level and have serious, life-threatening illnesses can obtain financial aid from RAN to receive treatment at any super speciality hospital or other government hospitals. Such patients receive financial support in the form of a “one-time grant” that is given to the relevant hospital.

The judge remarked that Delhi has already issued all of the ration cards it could handle and inquired, “What happens to someone without a ration card?”

Why is this required? There are other records available if you want to learn more about the family. The court questioned the value of ration cards.

In her petition, the petitioner said that since no medication was working on her and she needed blood and platelets from outside sources, Immunomodulation, which will cost about Rs 15 lakhs, was the only option that could save her life.

Delhi Government counsel stated that its representation to the Central Government seeking an increase in the limit imposed on the ration cards to be issued has been rejected.

In the plea, the petitioner said the mandate under RAN to furnish a ration card, in addition to an income certificate –when one of such document is sufficient to prove the financial status –is arbitrary, discriminatory, unconstitutional, illegal, irrational, having no nexus with the object underlying therein, opposed to public policy and contrary to public interest .

The plea added that on account of the Centre not extending new ration cards beyond the limit of 72,77,995 persons, the petitioner’s family could not be issued a new ration card for no fault of their own.

It is also to mention here that respondent Government of NCT of Delhi had requested respondent Union of India to increase the threshold limit of ration card beneficiaries but the same was consequently denied. Due to this issue petitioner could not be issued a new ration card resulting in non-acceptance of application under RAN scheme for grant of aid for treatment at AIIMS, the plea said.

Next hearing of the matter would be on 31 August.

(With inputs from PTI)

 

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