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Supreme Court agrees to hear plea seeking re-opening of Anganwadi centres in India

The Supreme Court agreed to hear a plea which has sought directions to the Centre, all states and UTs to forthwith re-open all Anganwadi centres.

Published: 21st September 2020 09:07 PM  |   Last Updated: 21st September 2020 09:07 PM   |  A+A-

Supreme Court

Supreme Court (File Photo | PTI)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Monday agreed to hear a plea which has sought directions to the Centre, all states and Union Territories (UTs) to forthwith re-open all Anganwadi centres in the country which were closed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The apex court issued notices to the Centre, states and UTs and sought their responses on the plea which has claimed that functioning of all Anganwadi centres in the country came to a "sudden halt" and poor pregnant and lactating women and children were "left in the lurch".

"Issue notice, returnable in four weeks. Counsel for the petitioner is permitted to serve a copy of this petition to the office of Solicitor General of India," a bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R S Reddy and M R Shah said.

The bench was hearing a plea filed by Maharashtra-based Dipika Jagatram Sahani who has sought a direction to the Centre, all states and UTs to “conduct growth monitoring of children to document growth in the wake of the after-effects of the pandemic more particularly malnourishment among children and anaemia in girl children and initiate corrective steps forthwith”.

The petition has said that the Centre, states and UTs should forthwith re-open all Anganwadi centres and provide Angangwadi services in accordance with the provisions of the National Food Security Act, 2013.

"This public interest petition filed under Article 32 of the Constitution of India, relates to the closure of the integrated child development services all across the country, which provided supplementary nutrition to pregnant women, lactating mothers, adolescent girls and children up to the age of 6 years," it said.

"The Anganwadi centres which were running under this scheme for decades was closed down using COVID as an excuse," it claimed, adding, "As a result, the most vulnerable sections of the Indian population suffered malnutrition nation-wide. This petition seeks the re-starting of the Anganwadi centres immediately."

It has also sought a direction to the Centre, states and UTs to provide hot cooked meals, take home rations in consonance with the provisions of the National Food Security Act, 2013 as well as The Supplementary Nutrition (under the Integrated Child Development Services Scheme) Rules, 2020.

It said the authorities should also be directed to make provisions for additional supplementary nutrition provisions to all beneficiaries of the ICDS scheme in the form of a comprehensive package of cooked food, eggs, fruits, dry rations including cereals and pulses etc.



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