The Bombay High Court on Wednesday expressed dissatisfaction over the Maharashtra government’s lack of sensitivity towards addressing the issue of the increasing number of malnutrition deaths in tribal areas of the state. A division bench headed by Justice V M Kanade, while hearing a bunch of PILs regarding malnutrition among children in the Melghat region of Vidarbha and other tribal areas, directed the state Chief Secretary to personally look into the issue and inform the court what steps would be taken to address the problem.
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“The state government officials have failed to wake up from its deep slumber…completely insensitive approach towards the situation and condition of the children who come from the lowest rung of the society,” Justice Kanade said.
“We direct the Chief Secretary to personally look into the issue and go through all the court orders and then inform us what the government will do towards implementation of the orders,” the court directed.
The court further said it was hoping that the government would take the issue seriously now or else it would be forced to direct the secretaries of the departments concerned to remain personally present in court and would initiate contempt proceedings against them.
The court noted that orders and directions passed in the case in the past eight years have unfortunately remained only on paper and no progress has been made.
“The problems appears to have been addressed at superficial levels but the core issue has not yet been resolved. The government’s schemes seem laudable on paper but none of it are implemented,” the court said.
The petitioners had earlier brought to the court’s notice that there had been 18,000 child deaths, which included stillbirths, in 2015-16.