Acting on a public interest litigation (PIL) that has alleged complete non-implementation of National Food Security Act (NFSA) in Gujarat by the state government since September 2013, the Gujarat High Court (HC) has issued notices to Central and state governments and posted the matter for further hearing on February 17. The division bench comprise Acting Chief Justice Jayant Patel and Justice V M Pancholi.
The petition has been moved by a voluntary organisation, Swaraj Abhiyan. And according to the petitioner, advocate P S Champaneri, the NFSA is being implemented across the country since September 2013 and in each state the state government is the implementing authority. The objective of the Act is to provide subsidised food grains to urban and rural poor, nutritious food to pregnant women, lactating mothers and school going and malnourished children. “However, since the beginning, Gujarat government has not implemented the Act denying the benefits of the Act to lakhs of people,” Champaneri said.
According to the petitioner, Section 8 of the NFSA provides that if the state government fails to supply statutory food benefits to the entitled population, then such population is entitled to receive food security allowance from the state government to be paid to each person within such time and manner as may be prescribed by the Central Governm-ent. And under the said Section 8 of the NFSA, the petitioner has demanded direction to the Gujarat government to pay food allowance to 382 lakh population that may run into thousands of crores of rupees.