2006: PUCL vs Union of India and others, Civil Writ Petition 196 of 2001


Supreme Court hearings on the right to food (PUCL vs Union of India and others, Civil Writ Petition 196 of 2001) have been held at regular intervals since April 2001. Though the judgement is still awaited, interim orders have been passed from time to time. An order on the Integrated Child Development Services(ICDS), ordering, amongst other things, that Government of India shall sanction and operationalize a minimum of 14 lakh AWCs in a phased and even manner starting forthwith and ending December 2008. In doing so, the Central Government shall identify SC and ST hamlets/habitations for AWCs on a priority basis. Government of India shall ensure that population norms for opening of AWCs must not be revised upward under any circumstances. While maintaining the upper limit of one AWC per 1000 population, the minimum limit for opening of a new AWC is a population of 300 may be kept in view. Further, rural communities and slum dwellers should be entitled to an "Anganwadi on demand" (not later than three months) from the date of demand in cases where a settlement has at least 40 children under six but no Anganwadi. The universalisation of the ICDS involves extending all ICDS services (Supplementary nutrition, growth monitoring, nutrition and health education, immunization, referral and pre-school education) to every child under the age of 6, all pregnant women and lactating mothers and all adolescent girls. The order holds the Chief Secretaries of the different States and Union Territories responsible for the proper implementation of the ICDS. A committee headed by Justice Wadhwa, ex-Supreme Court Judge has been formed to go into various issues relating to the Public Distribution System (PDS). The committee will be assisted by the Commissioner, Dr. N C Saxena. An order on 'Below Poverty Line' (BPL) status in the Public Distribution System (PDS).