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Home » News » Karnataka HC pulls up govt over malnutrition deaths

Karnataka HC pulls up govt over malnutrition deaths

The high court criticised the government for setting up a committee which excluded people who fought for the cause of malnourished children in the state.

It was reacting to an affidavit filed by the government over a suo motu case on the rise in malnutrition deaths among children in the state.

Committee set up without clearance
“Why did you constitute the committee without our clearance? It was a fiasco. If you (state government) are so efficient, let there be no child deaths due to malnutrition,” the division bench headed by chief justice Vikramajit Sen said.

“You don’t have the knowledge or the will to deal with malnutrition deaths among children in the state. By filing the affidavit, all you have done is passing the buck. We want to know the funds you have allocated for this cause. Nothing is forthcoming in the affidavit. What is the point in drafting such a hollow affidavit? It’s nothing but a political speech,” the bench said. “How come it did not strike you to involve NGOs, social groups and people who … spent day and night fighting for the cause? Your committee has those people whom you want there,” the bench said.
Samples of the food served to children were placed before the division bench.

Pointing at a food supplement packet, the bench observed that it did not mention the name of the manufacturer.
If poison was served in such packets, who would be held accountable for it, the bench asked the government.

In a letter addressed to the chief justice on September 23, 2011, Athani Vimochana Sangha, an NGO, had drawn his attention to a report in a local channel that 4,531 children suffered from malnutrition and starvation in the state. The counsel for the petitioner said bad smell emanated from the ‘bisi bele bath’, a Karnataka dish, served to children. He said powder in packets was given as food supplements to them.

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