Chennai, Jul 3 (ILNS) The Madras High Court today sought response from the Government of Tamil Nadu on the steps proposed to be undertaken by the Government to ensure that children in the state, who have suffered on account of closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic, are provided adequate food and nourishment.
While observing that the matter needs immediate urgent attention and for this purpose, issued notices to the respondents on immediate basis, a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy said: “It would serve the children well if the state has a road-map ready, so that lack of adequate food and nourishment that children have suffered over the last 15 months or so, particularly among the more vulnerable sections, may be remedied without delay.”
The contention of the petitioner is that since there is complete closure of schools for the past more than 15 months owing to which midday meals cannot be provided, it becomes the duty of the state to ensure that children in the state get the food and nutritional content as specified in the National Food Security Act, 2013. The petitioner submitted that the state needs to be proactive, to ensure door-to-door delivery of meals to children all across the state.
The Court observed that though there may be practical difficulties in achieving the said objective, yet the state needs to take aggressive steps to ensure that children are ‘well fed and nourished’, particularly in the wake of the pandemic, when many families have lost jobs or have minimal resources available.
“While it may be easier for the state, whether through the Corporations or the Municipalities, to organise adequate food and nourishment for children in urban or semi-urban areas, the difficulties may come up in rural areas,” said the Court, indicating its consciousness on the difficulties that might be faced in the rural areas.
In this regard, the Bench opined that the Panchayat system and the NGOs may be roped in for the purpose of providing adequate food and nourishment to the children in rural areas.
The matter will now be taken up on July 7, 2021.
The petition is filed by Citizen Consumer and Civic Action Group, a non-profit organisation working towards protecting citizens rights in consumer and environmental issues, seeking door-to-door delivery of meals to children across the state. ILNS/BG/RJ