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Published : April 13, 2015 | Author : JYOSNA DIGHE
Category : Human Rights laws | Total Views : 3380 | Rating :

Assistant Professor N.B.T Law college Nashik

 Right to Food of Children in India

The right to food is a human right. It is universal, acknowledged at the national, regional and international level, and applies to every person and group of persons. Currently, however, some 852 million persons throughout the world are seriously – and permanently undernourished, 815 million of whom are in developing countries, 28 million in countries in transition and 9 million in developed (―industrialized‖) countries. Furthermore, every five seconds, a child under ten years of age dies of hunger or malnutrition1 – more than 5 million per year.

Thus, the causes of undernourishment and of death from hunger and malnutrition of children are immensely complex, and they cannot be simply attributed to war or natural catastrophes. They are primarily due to social injustice, to political and economic exclusion and to discrimination. Hundreds of millions of undernourished children suffer from political and social exclusion while their right to food is violated. Children’s rights are the human rights of children with particular attention to the rights of special protection and care afforded to the young including their, for food.

There is an extremely high prevalence of hunger in India. Starvation deaths of children in India are not an anomaly in India the notorious Kalahandi region in Orissa to Baran in Rajasthan are cases in focus. In Sahariya village of the southern Rajasthan district of Baran, it rained continuously for almost a month in August 2004 and the tribal people could not practice the traditional livelihood of gathering forestwood to sell in the nearby town. There was no employment and no money to buy food. Villagers were going without meals, became ill and started to die.

In August 2005 there were again reports of starvation deaths. A six-member team, led by the state advisor to the Commissioners of the Supreme Court in the right to food, visited the Baran district and confirmed deaths due to chronic hunger among the Sahariya tribes. This situation not only in one of the part of India but all over the India. All these incidences occur due to improper implementation of right to food as human right. To stop children death due to hunger implementation of right to food is important one. Hence it is necessary to study the implementation of right to food as human right in India to stop these types of incidences.

Statutory Provisions on Right to Food in India

Constitution of India

Article 14. Equality before law–The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.

Article 21. Protection of life and personal liberty–No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.

Article 39. Certain principles of policy to be followed by the State – The state shall, in particular, direct its policy towards securing– a) that the citizens, men and women equally, have the right to an adequate means to livelihood;

Article 47. Duty of the State to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health h–The State shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties and, in particular, the State shall endeavor to bring about prohibition of the consumption except for medicinal purpose of intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are injurious to health.

Other Statute
Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006 (No. 34 of 2006)
Infant Milk Substitutes, Feeding Bottles and Infant foods (Regulation of Production, Sup ply and Distribution) Act, 1992 (No. 41 of 1992)
National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 (No. 42 of 2005)
Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 (No. 37 of 1954)
Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 (No.10 of 1994)

National Food Security Act 2013

For children in the age group of 6 months to 6 years: an age-appropriate meal, free of charge, through the local anganwadi. For children aged 6-14 years, one free mid-day meal every day (except on school holidays) in all government and government-aided shools, up to Class VIII. For children below six months, “exclusive breastfeeding shall be promoted”. For children who suffer from malnutrition, meals will be provided to them free of charge “through the local anganwadi.

Pregnant and Lactating Women

Every pregnant and lactating mother is entitled to a free meal at the local anganwadi (during pregnancy and six months after child birth) as well as maternity benefits of Rs 6,000, in instalments.

Schemes Food in India

1.Annapurna Schemes, 2000-01
2.Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY)
3.Applied Nutritional Programme (ANP) Planning Commission
4.Emergency Feeding Programme, 2001
5.Integrated Child Development Services Schemes (ICDS), 1975
6.Mid Day Meal Scheme, 1995
7.National Food Security Mission, 2007
8.National Maternity Benefits Schemes
9.National Nutritional Policy (NNP), 1993
10.National Old Age Pension Schemes
11.Nutritional Programme for Adolescent Girls, 2002-03
12.Public Food Distribution Scheme (PPS)
13.Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana (SGRY)
14.Scheme for Supply of Food Grains to SC/ST/OBC Hostels Welfare Institutions, 2002-03
15.Targeted Public Distribution Scheme (TPDS)
16.Village Grain Bank Scheme
17.Wheat Based Nutrition Programme (WBNP)

Supreme Court Judgments

The following cases reflects the decision in favor of children for getting them adequet food -

C.E.S.C Ltd. Vs. Subhash Chandra Bose Civil Appeal No. 3197-98 of 1988, Decided on Nov 15, 1991 1992(1)SCC 441;AIR1992 SC 573

Chameli Singh Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh Civil Appeal No.12122 of 1995 with 12123 of 1995, Decided on Dec 15, 19951996 (2) SCC 549;AIR 1996 SC 1051

Kishen Pattnayak & Anr. Vs. State of Orissa Writ Petition (Civil) No. 1081 of 1987,Decided on Jan 9, 1989 1989 Suppl (1) SCC258; AIR 1989 SC 677

M K Balakrishnan (1) & Ors. Vs. Union of India & Ors. Writ Petition (C) No 230 of 2001, Decided on March 26, 2009 2009 (5) SCC 507

M K Balakrishnan (2) & Ors. Vs. Union of India & Ors. Writ Petition (C) No 230 of 2001, Decided on April 28, 2009 2009 (5) SCC 511

Olga Tellis & Ors. Vs. Bombay Municipal Corporation & Ors. Writ Petition No 5068-50799 of 1981, Decided on July 10, 1985 1985 (3) SCC 545; AIR 1986 SC 180

People‘s Union for Civil Liberties Vs. Union of India IA 34-35,40,49,58-62 in Writ Petition (C) No.196 of 2001, Decided on Dec13, 2006;2007(1) SCC 719People‘s Union for Civil Liberties Vs. Union of India & Ors. Writ Petition (Civil) No. 196 of 2001 [Listed 35 times, Orders available at the Web Page of Supreme Court of India Next Hearing 10.02.2010]

People‘s Union for Civil Liberties Vs. Union of India & Ors. Writ Petition (C) 196 of 2001 with IA 40-41 of 2004, Decided on Oct 7, 2004 2004(12) SCC 104

Shantistar Builders Vs. Narayan Khimalal Totame Civil Appeal No. 2598 of 1989, Decided on Jan 31, 1990 1990(1) SCC 520; AIR 1990 SC 630

International Level
The evolution of the right to food is derived from the larger human right to an adequate standard of living contained in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Article 25 (1) of UDHR asserts that, ‗everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and wellbeing of himself and o f his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services ...‘ The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966) developed these concepts more fully, stressing ‗the right of everyone to … adequate food‘ and specifying ‗the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger‘. The civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights proclaimed in the Universal Declaration are considered interdependent, interrelated, indivisible and equally important. To be able to enjoy the right to food fully, people need access to healthcare and education, respect for their cultural values, the right to access and posses property and the right to organize themselves economically and politically. Without adequat e food, people cannot lead healthy active lives. They are not employable, cannot care for their children, and their children cannot learn to read and write. Hence the right to food cuts across the entire spectrum of human rights. Its fulfillment is essential in the fight against poverty, and it is at the heart of Food and Agriculture Organization‘s (FAO) mandate to ensure a world free from hunger. Over the past decade, a series of events in India have brought the question of food security into sharp focus. Vast famine-affected areas versus surplus production and stocks of grains, the impact of globalization and World Trade Organization laws on agriculture and farmers, the media‘s spotlight on starvation deaths and, finally, the Supreme Court of India‘s strong reaction to the plight of the hungry—all make a case for recognizing the right to food. The people at large have Right to enjoy meaningful and dignified life which depends upon food. The Right to food has great concern with population of State. As there is population growth in all over the Globe cases of violations are also increased. The role of state is important to make and implement various schemes for effective enforcement of right to food in India. However there is failure to curb the problems of non implementation on the part of Government.

Right to food‘, in India, has been one of the most contentious and highly debated issues in relation to the right to development of children and most importantly, food security of the poor. With the judicious intervention of the highest law-maker of the land, the Supreme Court, a rights-based approach to development has emerged putting aside the concept of welfare approach, according to which it is required of the State to fulfill its promises given to the citizens including children. Right to food of children is a basic right as it is not only essential for human development but also necessary for the proper functioning of a democratic State. In this study, the focus is on issues related to the right to food and the way the State has been looking at it. There is continuous conflict between the State and individual (children) and the ways various people‘s movements articulated on the right to Food of children, which is the essential for the survival of human beings. The reason behind all this is only one that laws and policies and schemes only on paper and not reach to real culprit.

Relatedd Articles
Enforcing Right To Food in India

Right to Food and Development
Right To Food As A Human Right
Development and Human Right to Food

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