Supreme Court warns the government to ensure no one dies of hunger
Grants three weeks to frame a pan-India policy on community kitchens
The Supreme Court has given an ultimatum to the Central government to frame a pan-India policy on community kitchens, after taking the view of different state governments.
A bench led by the Chief Justice of India NV Ramana emphasized that a welfare state had a constitutional duty to ensure that no one died of hunger. Displaying unhappiness over the lackadaisical approach the court granted the government three weeks time to frame a pan-India policy on community kitchens.
Also comprising, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice Hima Kohli, the bench expressed dissatisfaction over the contents of the affidavit filed by the under-secretary of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution. The bench said that the affidavit merely recorded the information already given by the states on the respective community kitchen schemes run by them.
The court had earlier passed an order directing the Central government to come up with a scheme after interacting with the state governments regarding deaths due to starvation.
The Attorney General for India KK Venugopal has now assured the court that the Centre would come out with a concrete scheme. He said that something could be worked out within the framework of the National Food Security Act.
Agreeing that the scheme needed a statutory framework, Justice Ramana said that it should not be discontinued on a change of policy. It directed the government to make a comprehensive scheme and identify the areas where it could be implemented uniformly.
The CJI underlined, "If you want to take care of hunger, no Constitution or law will say no. There is already a delay, so no more adjournments will help. Every welfare state's first responsibility is to provide food to the people dying due to hunger."
Justice Raman further clarified that the court was not talking about malnutrition. It was only about hunger. "Don't mix the issues," he advised.