SC refuses to direct pan–India govt policy to set up subsidised community kitchens

New Delhi, Feb 22 (UNI) The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to direct the Central government to frame a national policy for setting up subsidised canteens or community kitchens across the country to achieve the objectives of the National Food Security Act, 2013.

A bench comprising Justice Bela M Trivedi and Justice Pankaj Mithal stated that the National Food Security Act and other welfare schemes already exist to provide adequate quantities of subsidised food for the needy.

The bench, however, left it open to the states and the Union Territories to explore the option of ‘community kitchens’ as a means to achieve the objectives of the National Food Security Act, of 2013.

The order came on a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed by Anun Dhawan, represented by Advocate Ashima Mandla, seeking the establishment of subsidized canteens (or community kitchens) in all states and union territories to ensure food security in the wake of the havoc wreaked by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The petitioner had urged the court to direct the central government to establish a national-level policy in this regard.

In November 2021, a bench of the then Chief Justice of India, NV Ramana, Justice AS Bopanna, and Justice Hima Kohli expressed their dissatisfaction with the Central government’s affidavit in the matter and said that it is the responsibility of the state governments to set up such kitchens through a comprehensive scheme.

“If you want to take care of hunger and save people from dying, no state can say no. The responsibility of every welfare state is to look into this. We can’t leave the people in the lurch and say everything is fine”, the bench headed by CJI N V Ramana had stated at the time.

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