SC raps Gujarat for not implementing food security law

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New Delhi, Feb 1 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday slammed the Gujarat government for not implementing the National Food Security Act, asking if it was not part of India or wanted to break away.

Taking exception to the Gujarat government’s stand that it had not implemented the food security act since it had some issues with the law, a bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice N.V. Ramana asked: “You have to tell us whether you believe in parliament of India or law passed by it. If not, then why?”

Asking if Gujarat was “unique”, the court said its stand amounted to “undermining” the law.

“The National Food Security Act extends to the whole of India. How can Gujarat say it will not be implemented?”

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Saying that Gujarat’s stand was “sad”, the court asked: “What is parliament of India doing? What is the government doing?”

Can a state say that it would not implement the law passed by the parliament because it has some issues, the court asked Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar as he tried to argue that law was an enabling provision.

The bench said if the court was to accept Gujarat’s stand, other states like Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Telangana etc too would say that they will not implement the said law because Gujarat was not doing so.

“Do you see the consequences of it (Gujarat’s stand),” the court asked.

“Tomorrow, some other states will say they will not implement the Code of Criminal Procedure, Indian Penal Code or the Evidence Act as they have issues with the provisions of these laws,” the court observed.

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The court’s rap came during the hearing of a public interest litigation by NGO Swaraj Abhiyan seeking relief for people living in drought-affected states.

The court said that central government would be in touch with Gujarat, Haryana and Bihar who have not declared drought in their states as of now. The court order came as it was told by Ranjit Kumar that Gujarat, Haryana and Bihar don’t think that drought-like situations prevails in their states.

Meanwhile, counsel Prashant Bhushan appearing for Swaraj Abhiyan told the court that distinction between priority and non-priority sections of people should be dune away and everyone should be given 35 kg of rice or wheat, two kg of Dal, one kg of edible oil per month and one egg or 200 ml of milk every day.

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