Public servants misusing BPL ration cards

published on September 27, 2014

As per a report in the Malayala Manorama of 26 Sep 2014 (Palakkad Edition) it is understood that 1500 public servants have returned BPL ration cards being used by them illegally. No action appears to have been taken against any of them. It is also reported that even henceforth if anybody returns it voluntarily no action would be taken against them. This itself is a crime prosecutable under Sec 217 and 218 of the IPC which are reproduced below for ready reference:

Section 217. Public servant disobeying direction of law with intent to save person from punishment or property from forfeiture.
Whoever, being a public servant, knowingly disobeys any direction of the law as to the way in which he is conduct himself as such public servant, intending thereby to save, or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby save, any person from legal punishment, or subject him to a less punishment than that to which he is liable, or with intent to save, or knowing that he is likely thereby to save, any property from forfeiture or any charge to which it is liable by law, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

Section 218. Public servant framing incorrect record or writing with intent to save person from punishment or property from forfeiture Whoever, being a public servant, and being as such public servant, charged with the preparation of any record or other writing, frames that record or writing in a manner which he knows to be incorrect, with intent to cause, or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby cause, loss or injury to the public or to any person, or with intent thereby to save, or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby save, any person from legal punishment, or with intent to save, or knowing that he is likely thereby to save, any property from forfeiture or other charge to which it is liable by law, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

Further the report also mentions that in a particular case two members of a household using a BPL ration card have been identified as public servants-one working with the Excise Dept and the other with KSEB- and that the cost of the benefit they have misused since 2009 will be recovered from them and that too only one third of the total amount due, the remaining two thirds being recovered from the ration shop licencee! In this context it is common sense that recovering the difference between the cost paid and cost due is no punishment. Thus this decision is also whimsical, arbitrary and illegal, again falling within the ambit of Sec 217 and 218 of the IPC.

You are required to not only recover the losses from those who have misused the facilities but also subject them to the due process of law. Also anybody surrendering their cards with effect from date be made to make up the losses and also punished in an deterrent  manner through the due process of law.

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