2001: PUCL vs Union of India and others, Civil Writ Petition 196 of 2001

Supreme Court hearings on the right to food (PUCL vs Union of India and others, Civil Writ Petition 196 of 2001) have been held at regular intervals since April 2001. Though the judgement is still awaited, interim orders have been passed from time to time. Order of 28 November 2001 Public Distribution System It is the case of the Union of India that there has been full compliance with regard to the allotment of foodgrain in relation to the TPDS. However, if any of the States gives a specific instance of non-compliance, the Union of India will do the needful within the framework of the Scheme. The States are directed to complete the identification of BPL families, issuing of cards and commencement of distribution of 25 kgs. grain per family per month. The Delhi Govt. will ensure that TPDS application forms are freely available and are given and received free of charge and there is an effective mechanism in place to ensure speedy and effective redressal of grievances Antyodaya Anna Yojana It is the case of the Union of India that there has been full compliance with regard to the allotment of foodgrain in relation to Antyodaya Anna Yojana. However, if any of the States gives a specific instance of non-compliance, the Union of India will do the needful within the framework of the Scheme We direct the States and the Union Territories to complete identification of beneficiaries, issuing of cards and distribution of grain under this Scheme latest by 1st January, 2002. It appears that some Antyodaya beneficiaries may be unable to lift grain because of penury. In such cases, the Centre, the States and the Union Territories are requested to consider giving the quota free after satisfying itself in this behalf Mid-day Meal Scheme It is the case of the Union of India that there has been full compliance with regard to the Mid Day Meal Scheme (MDMS). However, if any of the States gives a specific instance of non-compliance, the Union of India will do the needful within the framework of the Scheme We direct the State Governments/ Union Territories to implement the Mid-Day Meal Scheme by providing every child in every Government and Government assisted Primary Schools with a prepared mid day meal with a minimum content of 300 calories and 8-12 grams of protein each day of school for a minimum of 200 days. Those Governments providing dry rations instead of cooked meals must within three months [February 28, 2002] start providing cooked meals in all Govt. and Govt. aided Primary Schools in all half the Districts of the State (in order of poverty) and must within a further period of three months [May 28, 2002] extend the provision of cooked meals to the remaining parts of the State We direct the Union of India and the FCI to ensure provision of fair average quality grain for the Scheme on time. The States/ Union Territories and the FCI are directed to do joint inspection of food grains. If the food grain is found, on joint inspection, not to be of fair average quality, it will be replaced by the FCI prior to lifting. National Old Age Pension Scheme It is the case of the Union of India that there has been full compliance with regard to the National Old Age Pension Scheme. However, if any of the States gives a specific instance of non-compliance, the Union of India will do the needful within the framework of the Scheme. The States are directed to identify the beneficiaries and to start making payments latest by 1st January, 2002. We direct the State Govts./ Union Territories to make payments promptly by the 7th of each month Annapurna Anna Yojana The States/ Union Territories are directed to identify the beneficiaries and distribute the grain latest by 1st January, 2002. Integrated Child Development Services We direct the State Govts./ Union Territories to implement the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) in full and to ensure that every ICDS disbursing centre in the country shall provide as under - Each child up to 6 years of age to get 300 calories and 8-10 grams of protein; Each adolescent girl to get 500 calories and 20-25 grams of proetin; Each pregnant woman and each nursing mother to get 500 calories & 20-25 grams of protein; Each malnourished child to get 600 calories and 16-20 grams of protein. Have a disbursement centre in every settlement. National Maternity Benefits Scheme We direct the State Govts./ Union Territories to implement the National Maternity Benefit Scheme (NMBS) by paying all BPL pregnant women Rs. 500/- through the Sarpanch 8-12 weeks prior to delivery for each of the first two births. National Fertility Benefit Scheme We direct the State Govts./ Union Territories to implement the National Family Benefit Scheme and pay a BPL family Rs. 10,000/- within four weeks through a local Sarpanch, whenever the primary bread winner of the family dies. Other directions We direct that a copy of this order be translated in regional languages and in English by the respective States/ Union Territories and prominently displayed in all Gram Panchayats, Govt. School Buildings and Fair Price Shops. In order to ensure transparency in selection of beneficiaries and their access to these Schemes, the Gram Panchayats will also display a list of all beneficiaries under the various Schemes. Order of 17 September 2001 States & Union Territories who, according to the learned Attorney General, had not identified the below poverty line families under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana, to identify, we are not satisfied that any such exercise in the right earnestness has been undertaken. The Food for Work Programme in the scarcity areas should also be implemented by the various States to the extent possible. Order of 23 July 2001 In this hearing, the bench asked the petitioner to meet representatives of GoI to discuss the fourth report submitted by the commissioners. The parties were asked to report back to the court in five weeks with the results of the meeting. In our opinion, what is of utmost importance is to see that food is provided to the aged, infirm, disabled, destitute women, destitute men who are in danger of starvation, pregnant and lactating women and destitute children, especially in cases where they or members of their family do not have sufficient funds to provide food for them By way of an interim order, we direct the States to see that all the PDS shops, if closed, are re-opened and start functioning within one week from today and regular supplies made.