SC asks states and UTs to decide by Jan 31 on reopening of Anganwadi
New Delhi: The Supreme Court Wednesday directed the states and Union Territories to decide by January 31 the reopening of Anganwadi centres, which were closed amid the COVID-19 pandemic last year and presently situated outside the containment zone.
Observing that government has its primary duty and a constitutional obligation to preserve human life and good health of its citizens, the apex court directed all states and Union Territories (UTs) to ensure that nutritional standards provided under the National Food Security Act, 2013 is fulfilled by providing nutritional support to pregnant women, lactating mothers and children who suffer from malnutrition.
A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan directed that all states and UTs shall issue necessary orders regarding monitoring and supervision of Anganwadi centres to ensure that the benefit reaches to the beneficiaries and a complaint redressal mechanism be put in place in each district .
The bench, also comprising Justices R S Reddy and M R Shah, said that decision for not opening Anganwadi centres in any state or UT shall be taken only after the concerned state disaster management authority directs for not opening of centres in particular area situated outside containment zone.
Anganwadi centres situated in the containment zone shall not be opened till the containment continues, the bench said in its 31-page verdict delivered on a plea which had raised the issue of closure of Anganwadi centres.
Inadequate supply of nutritious food to the citizens, more particularly to the children and the women shall affect their health. Therefore, the same shall be in violation of their fundamental right to health/right to live with dignity guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, it said.
The top court noted in its verdict that Anganwadi centres have been opened in some states and UTs