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MADURAI Smuggling of PDS rice during pandemic will not be condoned, says HC MADURAI Staff Reporter MADURAIMAY 17, 2020 02:41 ISTUPDATED: MAY 17, 2020 02:20 IST Dismissing a plea that sought the release of a lorry, seized for allegedly transporting Public Distribution System (PDS) rice illegally, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court observed that smuggling of such rice cannot be condoned by the court when there was shortage of essential commodities, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. The court was hearing the petition filed by M. Ramar from Madurai who sought a direction to the District Administration to release his lorry, seized for illegally transporting PDS rice. The petitioner said that he was a transport contractor for the Thiruparankundram Cooperative Credit Society and had the permission to transport essential commodities. It was said that while unloading the essential commodities, the police had seized the vehicle along with 15 kgs of rice on the allegation that the driver had illegally transported PDS rice. It was said that at the time of seizure, the driver, without the knowledge of the petitioner, had been transporting PDS rice. The State maintained that the rice was being smuggled. Justice C.V. Karthikeyan observed that people were facing an extraordinary situation in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and there was a necessity for the government to distribute rice and other essential commodities through fair price shops. Transporting rice whether after getting it back from card holders or by smuggling the rice that was to be supplied to the common man cannot be condoned by the court, when every grain of rice was important, in view of the extraordinary situation. The lorry was seized by due process of law and the court was not inclined to grant any order directing the return of the same, the judge said.