Act against starvation deaths: plea

A petition has been filed in the Delhi High Court seeking a direction to the Centre and the city government to act on starvation deaths, especially of children, in various parts of the country, including the national capital. The plea, moved by a lawyer, said that starvation deaths and malnutrition were more prevalent in families living in slums as many of them do not have ration cards for accessing subsidised food grains. Cases on the rise Initially, advocate Maneesh Pathak moved the Supreme Court, which, on September 7, asked him to first approach the Delhi High Court. In his plea, Mr. Pathak has referred to the death of three minor girls in July this year, who, according to their post-mortem report, were suffering from extreme malnutrition, and contended that such cases were on the rise in other States as well. He claimed that poor families living in slums do not have ration cards due to lack of address proof and contended that it should not be a ground for denial of subsidised food to them. “Making food security conditional [on a ration card] is a violation of the fundamental right to life under the Constitution,” the lawyer said. He has sought framing of a policy so that the marginalised section of society receives adequate supply of food and drinking water. The petition said this can be achieved through an efficient public distribution system for free delivery of essential food articles to the poor families, including those without ration cards.

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