Human Rights Law Network

The Initiative


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The Right to Food is a basic Human Right and its essential part of the “Right to live with human dignity” Yet, farmer suicide, starvation deaths and widespread hunger are commonplace in India. Our work is about identifying & struggle for the elimination of hunger where the nation failed and holding the government accountable for feeding its people." We are dedicated to the protection of the fundamental rights of the poor and to increase access to basic resources for marginalized communities. It uses the legal system to struggle against discrimination. It also works towards increased awareness of rights.

HRLN is an integral part of the larger right to food movement in India. From examining the facts behind the food security crisis in the late 1990s and putting them on display at every public platform, to working in solidarity with PUCL and others on filing the PIL, PUCL vs UOI and Ors, (writ petition 196, 2001) in the Supreme Court, HRLN has played a central role in exposing the government’s ignorance and using the legal system to correct the situation. In addition to working in solidarity with India’s national Right to Food Campaign – a nationwide collective, we have also formed our own right to food campaign in order to maintain focus and resources on this critical struggle.




To ensure availability of good quality foodgrains to the below poverty line (BPL), above poverty line (APL) and the destitute and marginalised people on subsidised rate with a quantity of 35 kg/month as directed by the Supreme Court.


To ensure proper operationalisation of all the integrated child development services (ICDS) centres and to take initiative for increasing the centres up to a significant number so that it would cover the target group to a sound extent.


To broad-base the public interest litigation initiative from the Supreme Court to the High Courts thus decentralising the initiative so that various food security schemes can be enforced at the state–level by NGOs acting independently.


To raise awareness of the increased discrimination against Dalits, single women, HIV positive people, differently–abled and dependent elderly people in public food security systems and to reduce discrimination faced by these groups.


To raise the issue of accountability in starvation death cases and ensure that Supreme Court orders hold senior civil administrators responsible for starvation deaths.


To expand the legal literacy programme so that NGOs in each state are extensively trained in food security and law issues, thereby enabling them to take legal action independently.


To take up the issues of the exclusion of below poverty line (BPL) persons from the public distribution system (PDS) in the latest survey conducted by the Government of India so that millions of poor that have been wrongly excluded can be brought up once again in the BPL list and can thereby receive subsidised grain.


To reduce the maternal mortality rate (MMR) and infant mortality rate (IMR) by enforcing the directions of the Supreme Court.


To introduce all elderly and differently–abled people belonging to the BPL families, under the cash assistance programme, thereby providing all eight food security schemes offered by the Government of India.




Legal Education, Judicial Coloquia & Training


Increasing awareness among lawyers and activists through conducting training on right to food colloquia.

Sensitising the judiciary through judicial colloquia to address food security interventions – national judicial colloquium on the right to food, held in New Delhi was attended by 61 high court judges from 17 states (including four Chief judges, and one Supreme Court judge). The colloquium raised judicial awareness on stravation, malnutrition and the right to food.


Delhi lawyer and activist training workshops which impart knowledge about the right to food as a basis for bringing the issue to court.


State, national and international trainings sessions which allowed people to share experiences to improving understanding of the national right to food campaign.


Advocacy & Campaigning


Providing access to justice to those who are most adversely affected by the food security crisis.


Undertaking legal advocacy campaigns for farmers, the aged, disabled and others.


Organising public hearings, fact findings and rallies.


Highlighting issues concerning the statutory bodies of the government related with food security.


Legal Aid & Public Interest Litigation


Internationally recognised landmark cases such as the Supreme Court (PUCL Vs Union of India).


Public interest litigation initiatives from the Supreme Court to the high courts, thus decentralising the initiative so that the various food security schemes such as the mid–day meal scheme, IC DS, NM BS, PDS, AA Y, annapurna, NOA PS, NF BS and NREGA can be enforced at the level of the various states by NGO s acting independently.


In last seven years, HRLN has filed 86 Interlocutory applications (IA) in Supreme Court on hunger and starvation deaths, ICDS, safe drinking water supply, breastfeeding, NMBS, BPL, PDS, NOAPS, and others food related issues. Legal aid across the country where right to food is violated.


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Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) is a division of the Socio-Legal Information Centre (SLIC). SLIC is a non-profit legal aid and educational organization, registered under the Registration of Societies Act, 1860, Indian Public Trust Act, 1950 and the Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Act, 1976.

HRLN is a division of the Socio-Legal Information Centre (SLIC). SLIC is a non-profit legal aid and educational organization, registered under the Registration of Societies Act, 1860, Indian Public Trust Act, 1950 and the Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Act, 1976.