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Karnataka High Court Directs Govt. To Compensate Students Who Were Denied Benefits Of Mid-Day Meal Scheme

Mustafa Plumber
17 Nov 2020 7:32 AM GMT
Karnataka High Court Directs Govt. To Compensate Students Who Were Denied Benefits Of Mid-Day Meal Scheme
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The Karnataka High Court has directed the State Government to inform in how much time and in what manner it would compensate each and every student who is entitled to the benefit of Mid-day meal scheme but it was denied to them from May 31, due to Covid-19 pandemic. The direction followed after the state government admitted that after 31st May, 2020, there is no implementation of...

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The Karnataka High Court has directed the State Government to inform in how much time and in what manner it would compensate each and every student who is entitled to the benefit of Mid-day meal scheme but it was denied to them from May 31, due to Covid-19 pandemic.

The direction followed after the state government admitted that after 31st May, 2020, there is no implementation of the provisions of clause (b) of sub-section (1) of Section 5 of the National Food Security Act, 2013 (for short "the said Act of 2013") read with the Mid-day Meals Rules, 2015 (for short "the said Rules of 2015.

A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Aravind Kumar said "On the face of it, notwithstanding the closure of all schools run by the Local Bodies, the Government and Government aided schools, the State Government is bound by the mandate of clause (b) of sub-section (1) of Section 5 of the said Act of 2013."

It added "Such a lapse, on the face of it, would amount to violation of rights of the children who are entitled to mid-day meals under clause (b) of sub-section (1) of Section 5 of the said Act of 2013 as well as the rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India."

Under the act mid-day meals are to be provided to children up to class VIII or children within the age group of 6 to 14 years as provided in clause (b) of sub-section (1) of Section 5 of the said Act of 2013.

The bench has directed the Secretary in charge of the concerned Department which is responsible for implementation of the provisions of clause (b) of sub-section (1) of Section 5 of the said Act of 2013 to file an affidavit by November 17.

The affidavit shall state in what manner and within what period each and every student who is entitled to the benefit of Mid-day meal scheme will be compensated. In what manner the legal obligation will be complied with by providing either mid-day meal or food grains to each and every student. In the affidavit, the Secretary will also set out the steps taken by the State Government to implement the provisions of the said Rules of 2015 and especially during the present pandemic.

As regards entitlement of various persons to receive food through anganwadis. The state government submitted that compliance has been made by distributing food grains to the beneficiaries up to the end of October.

To which the court directed the Secretary in charge of the concerned department of the State Government which is responsible for implementation of the provisions of the Supplementary Nutrition (Under the Integrated Child Development Services Scheme), Rules 2017 (for short, "the said Rules of 2017") to file an affidavit indicating compliance with the provisions of clause (a) of Section 4, clause (a) of sub-section (1) of Section 5 and Section 6 of the said Act of 2013 as well as the provisions of the said Rules of 2017.

It said "As Anganwadis have not started functioning, the Secretary will state in what manner strict implementation of the provisions will be made and it will be ensured that everyone who is entitled to receive the food from anganwadis gets it regularly."

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