Observing that the poor people have been hit hardest during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Kohima bench of the Gauhati High Court directed the Nagaland government to provide benefits to the people entitled under the Food Security Act.
The development came after a division bench of Justice Songkhupchung Serto and Justice S Hukato Swu was dealing with a PIL espousing the cause of lactating mothers and children deprived of the required nutrition due to economic conditions, especially during the pandemic time. The matter was heard on Wednesday.
The petitioner apprised the court that the lactating mothers and children who are from the economically lower strata have been deprived of their entitlements under the Food Security Act due to the closure of Angawadi centres through which the required food or services were provided to them under the act and other schemes of the central Government.
“In view of the pandemic, this section of our society has even more need for nutrition supplements to build up their immune system against the Covid-19 virus. Therefore, the state government should open the Anganwadi centres once again so that the required services which were provided through them may continue to reach the people,” the petitioner advocate submitted before the court.
The court observed, “It is common knowledge that the poor have been hit the hardest during this pandemic and they are in need of every help that can be provided. Therefore, it should be the endeavor of everyone responsible to make such services or benefits available at their door steps.”
The court directed the respondents – Nagaland government, director of social welfare department and director of food & civil supplies to provide the benefits to the people.
The respondents have also been directed to file an affidavit of compliance and response to the petition on the next hearing on July 28.