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Patna High Court took Suo Moto cognizance over the critical nutritional conditions of the marginalised children as processed under the news reports:

The Patna High Court was of the opinion by pursuing a suo moto cognizance after the highlight of news reports regarding the suspension of mid-day meals and a result of such a step the children of the marginalised communities have been forced to garbage picking and scrap selling on account of non availability of mid-day meals following the shut down of schools and Anganwadi centers amid Covid-19 pandemic.

The situation of children is being affected very drastically due to non availability of mid-day meals leading to health issues. The Indian Express on 6th of July published a news story  which highlighted the plight of the marginalised children who have been pushed to garbage picking and scrap selling dur to the non availability of mid-day meals. The envisaged problem to put food over the table is pushing them to indulge in downtrodden acts.

The Patna High Court taking cognizance over the matter observed that due to such a suspension the marginalised children have been the most drastically been affected.

The court opined that due the suspension of mid-day meals the children were entitled to a certain specific amount of money which need to be processed to the bank accounts of the parents of such children fulfilling the demands of food to the children. ‘Many families contended that no such remittance was processed to them since April of this year.’

The Division Bench of Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice S Kumar said that this is the matter of welfare of the children from the lowermost strata of the society. The Disruption and Closure of schools across the state will have a negative impact not just a Child’s Right to Education but in specific cases Right to adequate food. 

The case stated firstly, the Distribution of food via mid-day meal being a constitutional duty of the state for upbringing the nutrition of children. Secondly, the right of children to benefit from the mid-day meals and how the same could be made available amid lockdown.

The Court directed Respondents to ensure that no child is pushed into or be indulged in any activity of rag-picking  or beggary, more so on account of lack of food. 

The Court finally clarified that present proceedings may not be understood as a direct opening and recommencing classes. 

By Rajat Verma

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