New Delhi:The Supreme Court has pulled up both the Centre and the states for the tardy implementation of the National Food Security Act and said a law enacted by Parliament as a part of its social justice obligation must be given its due respect and must be implemented faithfully and sincerely and positively before the end of this year.
A Bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur and N.V. Ramana in a judgement on Friday in the petition filed by NGO Swaraj Abhayan said, “It is quite clear that the NFS Act, a social justice and social welfare legislation, is not being implemented as it should be. That is the bane of our society.”
In his concurring judgment Justice Ramana said the Act was made in furtherance of India’s commitment to multilateral treaties and this Court’s persistence to alleviate the condition of rampant malnutrition prevalent in the country.
The court said the unique feature of this Act is that the Center has de-centralised the regulatory aspects within the Act by empowering the institutions at the bottom of the pyramid.
“It is to be noted that our Constitutional set-up mandates that Centre is not powerless which is apparent from various Articles of the Constitution. Further, it is not proper on the part of the states to ignore the plight of the common man in enforcing such important legislations, more so when such legislation is a welfare legislation,” the Bench said.
The Bench pointed out that the record in this case from various states indicates that a combined effort, both by Centre and states, needs to be taken for effective implementation of the Act especially in the drought affected areas so as to save people from abject poverty and poor quality of life.
States should take up this matter with much more seriousness and implement the Act in its true letter and spirit.
The Bench directed the secretary in the ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution of the Government of India to convene one or more meetings on or before August 31 of the concerned secretaries of all the state governments and Union Territories to take stock of the implementation of the NFS Act and brainstorm over finding ways and means to effectively implement the provisions of the NFS Act in letter and spirit.
The Supreme Court Bench directed the Centre to ask the States to establish and make fully functional a State Food Commission under the provisions of the NFS Act before the end of the year.