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NFSA, other schemes already being implemented: Supreme Court on plea seeking setting up of community kitchens

The top court's judgement came on a PIL filed by social activists Anun Dhawan, Ishann Singh and Kunajan Singh seeking directions to all states and Union territories to formulate a scheme for community kitchens to combat hunger and malnutrition.
Last Updated 22 February 2024, 10:18 IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to pass any direction on a plea seeking formulation of a scheme on setting up of community kitchens to combat hunger and malnutrition, observing that the National Food Security Act (NFSA) and other welfare schemes are being implemented by the Centre and states.

A bench of Justices Bela M Trivedi and Pankaj Mithal said it was open to states and union territories to ensure implementation of alternative welfare schemes.

"The National Food Security Act and other welfare schemes are being implemented by the Union of India and the states to ensure access to adequate quantity of food at affordable prices to people. We do not propose to issue any further direction in this regard.

We have not examined whether the concept of community kitchens is better or wiser alternative available to states to achieve the objective of NFSA. Rather, we would leave it open to states and union territories to ensure implementation of alternative welfare schemes," the bench said.

The top court's judgement came on a PIL filed by social activists Anun Dhawan, Ishann Singh and Kunajan Singh seeking directions to all states and Union territories to formulate a scheme for community kitchens to combat hunger and malnutrition.

The plea had alleged that many children under the age of five die every day due to hunger and malnutrition and this condition was violative of various fundamental rights, including the right to food and life of citizens.

It had also sought a direction to the Centre for creating a national food grid for people falling outside the purview of the public distribution scheme and issuance of order to the National Legal Services Authority (NLSA) for formulating a scheme to mitigate hunger-related deaths.

The plea had referred to the state-funded community kitchens being run in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Odisha, Jharkhand and Delhi that serve meals at subsidised rates in hygienic conditions.

It had also referred to the concepts of soup kitchen, meal centre, food kitchen or community kitchen, in other countries, where food is offered to the hungry usually for free or sometimes at a below market price.

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(Published 22 February 2024, 10:18 IST)

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