Coming down heavily on 10 states for not implementing the Food Security Act (FSA), the Supreme Court pulled up their chief secretaries who were present in the top court after it had issued summons against them in the last hearing.
The chief secretaries of these 10 states were asked to be present in the court today to explain why food commissioners in their regions had not been appointed.
In the last hearing, the chief secretaries of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Telangana, Jharkhand and Karnataka were asked to be present in person due to their failure to implement the FSA despite repeated reminders from the Supreme Court. Top officers from the respective states lined up before a bench led by Supreme Court judge Justice Lokur.
ALL THAT HAS HAPPENED SO FAR
- The counsel representing the state of Karnataka was warned that a warrant would be issued if the chief secretary did not record his presence in the next hearing. Karnataka is yet to appoint a food commissioner and implement the FSA.
- The state of Maharashtra, which is yet to notify the Act, was told by the bench, "This is an extremely unfortunate situation concerning the most deprived sections of society".
- Maharashtra has assured that it will appoint a food commissioner within two weeks.
- The state of Bihar was not spared either. The bench directly asked the chief secretary, "Is the issue of food not important to the state and the people of Bihar."
- Many officers present in the court could not come up with satisfactory answers. The bench was very clear that officers of all non-complying states would have to appear before the court on the next date of hearing.
- The chief secretary of Karnataka would have to record his presence on Thursday (April 27) or a warrant might be issued against them.
- The PIL was filed on the drought situation by Swaraj Abhiyan, which is now a political party, citing the absence of relief measures in drought-affected areas of the country.
- In pursuance of that order, it was directed that the Food Security Act be implemented.
- The court will continue to hear the matter on Thursday.