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The Delhi High Court Wednesday issued notice to the central government on a plea seeking inclusion of families with disabled members in the list of those identified in the 2011 Census as below poverty line (BPL) families.

 A bench of Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Siddharth Mridul issued notice to the central government, Planning Commission and the department of food and public distribution, seeking their replies within four weeks.

“Government should have a positive stand on it as the issue needs consideration,” said the bench while asking Additional Solicitor General (ASG) A.S. Chandhiok to clarify the government’s stand by Feb 23, 2012.

The ASG told the bench the union rural development ministry was in the process of survey. The bench was hearing a petition filed by NGO National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD).

Their counsel Jaishree Satpute challenged the notification issued by the ministry concerned on May 30 framing guidelines for BPL census 2011. “This is a complete violation of Supreme Court’s earlier direction to both the centre and state government to include disabled and destitute men and women in the BPL category to let them avail benefits under government’s various schemes,” Satpute argued.

“It is highly probable that most of the families with disabled members may be left out of the BPL list,” counsel said, adding that the centre’s decision to exclude such families was unfair.

The centre had directed the states in May to conduct the socio-economic census to identify BPL families. “The basis of filing this petition is an order passed by the Supreme Court by which the court directed the central government and other respondents to compulsorily place the aged, infirm, disabled, destitute men and women, pregnant and lactating women and households with a disabled adult and no assured means of subsistence in Antyoday Anna Yojana (AAY) category,” said the petition.

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