The Supreme Court Strongly ordered the Union government to bring a plan model scheme to fight against hunger

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The Supreme Court today ordered the Union government to consider preparing a model scheme for community kitchens across the country and providing additional food grains to the States in this regard.

A bench comprising the Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice Hima Kohli, was hearing the writ petition which seeks the formulation of a community kitchen policy to avoid starvation deaths.

CJI Ramana said the scheme should consider extending additional logistics, resources and food grain to the states. The Bench also sought the latest data from the Centre on starvation deaths.

The top court clarified that it does not mean that a universal scheme should be framed, as there is no straitjacket formula to address the issue, but at least the government can frame a model scheme.

During the hearing, the bench remarked that several freebies are announced by political parties during polls and added that it does not want to comment during election time. The bench asked state governments to provide data on malnutrition, starvation deaths and other related issues, within two weeks. 

The AG argued that no state government has reported starvation death, but pointed out a news report claiming a starvation death in Tamil Nadu, as doctors did not find food in the body of the 5-year-old child in the post mortem.

The Chief Justice of India clarified that the Court doesn't want the Government to formulate a strict jacket scheme and added that various factors need to be considered, and the Centre can therefore formulate a scheme and leave the implementation to the States.

"We are saying why don't you think of some model scheme. We are not asking you to make a strict scheme that states have to follow. In different states, there are different problems, food habits etc. We understand that," CJI said

The Attorney General submitted that the Government is not disputing that malnutrition exists and the need for community kitchens. However, the question is of funding. He added that if States require more food grains, that can be considered by the Government. 

Referring to the stand taken by States specifically the State of Uttar Pradesh, the Bench stated that State is willing to run the scheme if 2% additional grains is given, provided that some guidelines are provided by the Centre.

"What they are saying is, whatever money and schemes you are giving, allocate some percentage of food grains to states, they will take care. Please ask your officers to apply their mind." the Bench said.

AG KK Venugopal told the court that there are already 134 schemes in this regard and no more funds can be diverted to the state, and already states are being given food grain, the bench asked the Centre to consider providing additional food grain. AG said this can be considered. 

The court adjourned the matter by two weeks and said states can file an additional affidavit on malnutrition, hunger and other issues.