- World News
- In Pics
The Indian Judiciary is bracing itself for a deluge of cases and PILs in the wake of the UPA massively expanding the scale and scope of the leaky, decades old Targeted Public Distribution System to cover 67% of the population and making this entitlement a justiciable right under the recently promulgated Food Security ordinance.
Currently, approximately 40% of subsidized grain doesn’t reach target beneficiaries under the TPDS and with the government doing nothing meaningful to address leakages under the Food Security ordinance, some sections of the Indian judiciary are bracing themselves for the worst.
“With a backlog of over 30 million cases and with the average life of a lawsuit exceeding 10 years, I don’t see how the Judiciary can deal with these cases and secure justice for irate beneficiaries. Looks like I’ll have to forego my month long summer vacation next year,” bemoaned a High Court Judge. The Indian Judiciary has now appealed to the government to either a) increase the number of judges at all levels or b) triple the budgeted outlays under the FSB to over 3% of GDP so that the promised entitlement reaches beneficiaries net of corruption induced leakages.
However, the government has asked the Judiciary to take a chill pill and relax. “Most laws in India exist on paper only and people aren’t that stupid to buy into our hype and actually go to court,” a Union Minister chuckled. By way of proof, he cited empirical evidence from the implementation of MNRGEA, which guarantees hundred days of employment to any household:
“To date, not a single household has sued to government for delay of wages, underpayment or other anomalies in the five years since the Act was notified. And this despite, as eminent economist Surjit Bhalla recently wrote, ‘two-thirds of the beneficiaries of the scheme being not only not poor in 2009-10, but their average consumption being 50 per cent higher than the average expenditure of the poor beneficiaries? And these non-poor doing back-breaking NREGA work were in the top third of the distribution!’”
The Minister trailed off by saying that the Food Security ordinance was no different from other pieces of Indian legislation in that it resembled the batting line-up of Team India of the 90s: very strong on paper but…