The Allahabad High Court on Monday sought the response of the UP Government on the condition of Anganwadis in the State, especially with regard to nutrition programmes undertaken therein.
"This petition for writ raises an important issue with regard to implementation of Anganwadi projects including the scheme relating to nutritive food," remarked a Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Saurabh Shyam Shamshery while directing the concerned department of the State to file its affidavit within a month.
The PIL was filed by one Nishant Chandra and others, appearing in person. They had submitted that most of the Anganwadis in the State of Uttar Pradesh are not having adequate means to provide nutritive food to the children.
They asserted that most of the children coming from weaker sections of society are malnourished and the Anganwadis are neither having sufficient means nor the means whatever available are properly utilized for distribution of nutritive food.
Having considered the aforesaid, the Court said,
"we deem it appropriate to direct the respondent no. 3 to file a complete response to the petition with all necessary details relating to Anganwadis in the State of Uttar Pradesh including the facts relating to nutrition programmes undertaken at such Anganwadis."
The matter has been listed for hearing on March 24, 2021.
Holding that the Right to Food is an implication of the right to life enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution of India, the Patna High Court had recently issued slew of directions for providing immediate relief to children who rely on Anganwadis.
"Children are the wealth of this nation. Our failure, or delay in acting on the present situation could lead to incorrigible long-term consequences on the health, development, and general well-being of our children," the Court had remarked.
Last month, the Supreme Court while disposing of a plea seeking reopening of Anganwadi Centres, which were closed due to pandemic, observed,
"Children are the next generation and therefore unless and until the children and the women have the nutritious food, it will affect the next generation and ultimately the country as a whole. No one can doubt that children are the future of our country and if there is some stinginess in providing them with adequate nutrition, the country as a whole is deprived in future of taking the benefit of their potential."
The Top Court added,
"The Centre as well as States are statutorily obliged to implement statutory obligation as imposed under Sections 4,5 and 6 of the [National Food Security] Act, 2013. The nutritional support is required to be of the nutritional standards which have already been laid down to Schedule II of the Act, 2013 and all States/UTs are obliged to implement such Scheme and have to comply with Schedule II."
Case Title: Nishant Chandra & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors.