The Supreme Court on Monday imposed additional costs amounting to Rs. 5,00,000/- on Maharashtra, Delhi, Manipur, and Orissa & Goa for failure to file their replies in a Petition seeking setting up of community kitchens PAN India, substantiating the total cost payable by each state to Rs. 10 Lacs.
All applications filed to waive the cost were dismissed by the Bench.The Bench asked them to deposit the amount Today itsef.
Last week, the Bench comprising Justices NV Ramanna, Ajay Rastogi & V. Ramsubramian had imposed a cost of Rs. 5 lacs on several states for non-compliance of an earlier order dated 2nd September 2019, thereby directing the states to file their replies.
The Bench had expressed its discontent on the laxity of Government's and had observed that, "It is unfortunate to note that even after lapse of considerable period of time, there is no proper response from the State Governments."
Today, the Advocate General appearing for the Centre took note of the stands taken by various State Government's and sought liberty to file Counter Affidavit.
Advocate Ashima Mandla appearing on behalf of the Petitioner(s) was directed to prepare a collated chart of all counter-affidavits that come on the record before the Next Date of hearing.
The Petition, filed by social activists Anun Dhawan, Inshann Dhawavan & Kunjana Singh earmarks the need to validate the "Right to Food" in terms of "Right to Life" as envisaged in the Constitution of India by setting up of state-funded kitchens that may also function in a Public-Private Partnership (PPP's).
While insinuating and asserting that this shall help eradicate hunger, the Petitioner has taken cue from pre-existing and successfully run kitchen services run by certain states such as Amma Unavagam in Tamil Nadu, Annapurna Rasoi in Rajasthan, Indira Canteens in Karnataka, Aam Aadmi Canteen in Delhi, Anna Canteen in Andhra Pradesh, Mukhyamantri Dal Bhat Yojana in Jharkhand and Ahaar Centre in Odisha.
It has also been averred that,
"These are akin to "soup kitchens" of the U.S. and Europe to feed the poor by serving a limited menu of nutritious cooked food at below the market price."
The Petition has relied on various census and statistical reports to assert that malnutrition and hunger were soaring at an alarming rate in the country. Referring to the UN World Food Programme, UN WHO: Global Database on Child Growth and Malnutrition, 2006, UN Food and Agriculture Organization: SOFI 2006 Report, the Petitioners have asserted that that 7000 persons (including children) die of hunger every day and over 25 Lakh persons (including children) die of hunger, annually.
The matter is now fixed for tentative disposal on 8th April 2020.