2004: 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. This order is primarily on the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS). The order discusses measures such as increasing the number of anganwadis from six lakhs to fourteen lakhs, imcreasing the norms for supplementary nutrition, abolition of contractors in provision of food, provision of detailed information on ICDS in the website and ensuring full utilisationof available finances. The court expressed concern that all children should be covered by the ICDS programme. The Government of India has been directed to provide a plan of action to expand the number of anganwadis to cover all settlements, latest by July. All states have been directed to file a report on eligible number of children vis-a-vis number covered under the ICDS programme. No scheme covered in the previous orders can be discontinued without the prior permission of the court. The court expressed concern that children are not being adequately covered in the ICDS scheme. Mid-day meals: The court directed that all states have to start implementing the mid-day meal scheme latest by Sept 1, 2004. Centre was directed to make financial provisions for mid-day meal infrastructure, and also reply to Abhijit Sen Committee's suggestion that centre share a part of conversion costs. GoI should also state when it is planning to implement the Prime Minister's announcement to extend mid-day meals upto class 10. Dalits to be given preferrence in appointment of cooks and helpers and mid-day meals shall be provided in summer in drought affected states. Employment: Allocation for SGRY to stand doubled. All documents pertaining to employment programmes shall be available for public scrutiny, and the price of these documents shall be no greater than cost of providing copies. Minimum wages should be paid in the works and use of labour-displacing machinery to be stopped. Incase of financial difficulty the states can approach the centre for permission to pay 100 % wages in grain. Antyodaya: BPL criterion should not be used in selection of Antyodaya beneficiaries. States have been directed to issue AAY cards to all primitive tribes immediately.