The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre and States to submit affidavits on with regard to the issuance of guidelines on the working of Anganwadi in relation to COVID-19.
A triple judges bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R.Subhash Reddy and MR Shah observed,
“Let Government of India submit an affidavit with regard to the issuance of the guidelines dated 11.11.2020. The States are also required to file an additional affidavit in which they have to tell about the steps taken in relation to the guidelines issued on 11.11.2020 by the Government of India.”
The Apex Court heard a Public Interest Litigation asking for the directions to provide food and healthcare facilities to children and lactating mothers as the whole Anganwadi system was shut down during the lockdown.
Senior Counsel Colin Gonsalves told the Court about the closure of the entire Anganwadi system since March and therefore no meal was being served. “ Meal “ which was served as a supplementary meal which had to be mixed with water. The Court observed the senior advocate’s submission that neither education nor food had been provided to the children who are up to the age of 6 years. Besides this, it was also asked to file an additional affidavit in which the details should be mentioned by the Union of India as well as by the States within two weeks.
The Petitioner has said that since the functioning of all Anganwadi Kendra in the nation has stopped, poor pregnant and lactating women and children were left abandoned and therefore directions from the Centre, all the States and Union Territories are needed to start the growth monitoring of children to ascertain the growth index during the pandemic and its after-effects, specifically about the malnourishment among the children and anaemia among girl children and to take necessary steps for them.
The Centre had told the Supreme Court that the Anganwadi Kendras had done a great job and provided the requisite supplementary nutrition to children in every 2 weeks even when there was a nationwide lockdown because of corona pandemic.