The Delhi High Court today pulled up a man over a PIL alleging poor quality of food being served along the LoC as claimed by a BSF jawan on social media.
A bench of acting Chief Justice Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Anu Malhothra asked the petitioner, who claims to have worked with one of the paramilitary forces, whether he had ever raised such complaints when he was serving in the force.
“Show us your (petitioner) complaint. Please see if you are serving national interest, public interest or your own interest,” asked the bench. The observation came as advocate Abhishek Kumar Choudhary, appearing for petitioner Puran Chand Arya, raised the issue of dismissal of BSF jawan Tej Bahadur Yadav.
The bench said such “broad statement” should not be made in public interest litigations. The court, thereafter, fixed the matter for May 5 for further hearing. Recently, Yadav, who had posted the video about poor quality food served to jawans in forward locations, was dismissed from service on charges of making false allegations and posting photographs on social media, among others.
The BSF had on February 23 told the court that the allegation of one of its jawans on the social media that poor quality food was being served to troopers posted along the LoC was “false” as no complaint was ever made in this regard.
The BSF response came in the backdrop of a PIL seeking direction to the Home Ministry to submit a status report on the quality of food supplied to all paramilitary forces in the country.
Brushing aside allegations levelled by Yadav in his video, the BSF in its affidavit, filed through advocate Gaurang Kanth, said a “very transparent system” was in place to ensure quality diet for the troopers.
The BSF had countered the petitioner’s claim of corruption saying there were committees to deal with purchase of food items and even inspect it after it is cooked.
On January 9, Yadav posted a video on Facebook which showed a meal box comprising a burnt chapati and watery soup- like dal which he said had only turmeric and salt.
He had claimed that this was what jawans were served as meal on duty and said they often went to bed on empty stomach.
Citing fundamental rights to equality (Article 14) and life (Article 21), the PIL highlighted the allegations of insufficient and bad quality of food provided to jawans.
It sought action on the incident so that the morale of the force was not affected, besides demanding clarity on ration procurement, food preparation and servings to various categories of officers.
The BSF, in its 10-page affidavit, said it was “making all efforts to ensure transparent and effective measures for the procurement as well as distribution of healthy diet to all its personnel”.
It said food was cooked and distributed in BSF messes under the supervision of mess commander who is selected by troops from among the dining members through monthly mess meetings held on the 25th of each month under the supervision of the Company Commander.