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NEW DELHI, Nov 16 : Indian Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the central government to develop a scheme to address hunger and malnutrition as people were “suffering from hunger and dying of hunger.” The Supreme Court of India directed the central government to develop a scheme to end hunger and resultant deaths in the country while hearing a plea seeking establishment of community kitchens across the country in wake of the economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A bench led by Chief Justice N V Ramana and comprising Justices A S Bopanna and Hima Kohli told Attorney General K K Venugopal representing the government that the first responsibility of every welfare state is to provide food to people dying due to hunger. “See if you want to take care of hunger, no constitution, law will say no. My suggestion again is, already we’re delaying so further adjournments won’t help. We’ll give you final time of two weeks please hold that meeting,” Ramana told Venugopal. The apex court told the government that “people are dying of hunger and malnutrition is a separate issue, and do not mix them. Don’t think this is with malnutrition. This is for hunger. People are dying due to hunger. Don’t mix these two issues”, the chief justice of India said. The bench also opined that it seems the government is not in a mood to implement the scheme and slammed it saying that the central government is still in the process of gathering suggestions on the matter. The court stated it will grant three weeks’ time to come up with a scheme agreeable to various state governments to end hunger in the country.
“We direct all states to co-operate with the government of India in coming up with a scheme,” the bench said. The petition seeking to ensure food security in the country proposed subsidised canteens in all states and union territories. People across India were hit hard by the pandemic as several people lost their job and the economy took a downward dive. The government imposed lockdown for several months to curb the spread of COVID-19 pandemic which almost crippled the health system in the country forcing the government to appeal for international aid and support.(KUNA)