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Inter alia, a report by NLSIU's Centre for Child and Law found that the Monitoring and Grievance Redressal System under the National Food Security Act had been rendered defunct during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.
The Karnataka High Court has urged the State government to consider the recommendations made in the survey report titled "Rapid Assessment of the Impact of COVID-19 Lockdown on Food and Nutrition Security in Rural Karnataka," prepared by National Law School of India University, Bangalore (NLSIU).
The survey report was prepared by the Centre for Child and the Law, NLSIU based on interviews with 152 respondents from 5 districts i.e. Bidar, Vijayapura, Koppal, Raichur and Ramanagara.
By this report, the Court was informed that the Monitoring and Grievance Redressal System laid down in the National Food Security Act, 2013 had been rendered defunct during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.
Further, the Court was told that the State Food Commission was not functioning proactively to monitor the service delivery and that its toll free number was not functional amid the present COVID-19 crisis.
In view of these concerns, a Division Bench of Chief Justice Abhay Sreeniwas Oka and Justice B V Nagarathna has now directed the State Government to respond on the following aspects:
whether the Monitoring and Grievance Redressal System is still functional;
functioning of the State Food Commission and the toll free number;
recommendations contained in the report regarding (i) immediate relief through schemes and services (ii) health and social security and (iii) long term measures for sustainable food and nutrition security.
The State has been directed to respond on these aspects by May 12.
Among other directions, the Court has also asked the state government to inform the Court the action undertaken by the district administration to ensure that the genuine demands received on the hunger helpline for supply of food. The State has been directed to ensure that such genuine demands are immediately attended to and that food is supplied to the needy.
These issues were taken up by the Court while dealing with a PIL pending before the Court pertaining to various issues that have arisen amid the COVID-19 crisis.
The matter will be next heard on May 12.
[Read order here]