Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Monday held that the issue of death among tribal children and women due to malnutrition is more important than the starvation of farmers. A Division Bench of Justice Vidyasagar Kanade and Jusitce Anant Badar made the observation while slamming the Maharashtra government for not having the ‘political will’ to implement the existing schemes for the welfare of the tribal community during the hearing of a petition highlighting the suffering of state tribal communities.
The decade-old petition has been instrumental in finding that thousands of children and women die every year due to malnutrition. The HC has been passing several orders time and again, directing the government and its officials to provide better facilities to the tribal people. On Monday, the Bench was informed that pursuant to its order, the Chief Secretary of the State had conducted a meeting of all the secretaries concerned but there has been no change in the conditions of the tribals.
Justice Kanade said, “We do not know what can be done now as we have passed several orders since the inception of this petition. We find that there is no political will on part of the government to implement our orders and reduce the rising number of deaths.”
“This issue (malnutrition) is equally or rather more important than the starvation of farmers and the issue of loan waivers. The government must give more emphasis to this issue,” Justice Kanade said, citing earlier SC observations on the same issue and said it will hold the state responsible for the deaths.
The Bench has given a period of two-and-half months for the government to effectively implement existing schemes and its orders for the welfare of the tribal population.