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Updated on: Saturday, August 28, 2021, 06:35 PM IST

FPJ Legal | Depriving children of nutritious food, a serious issue: Bombay HC upholds Aanganwadi sevika's sacking

Bombay HC | File Image

Bombay HC | File Image

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MUMBAI: Observing that betraying children, who are future of our nation is a serious offence, the Bombay High Court bench of Justices Sunil Shukre and Anil Kilor at the Nagpur seat, last week upheld the decision of the state women and child welfare ministry to sack an Aanganwadi Sevika, who deprived children of the nutritious food supplied by the government under the Mid-day meal scheme.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by Sadhana Uke challenging the April 13, 2020 decision by the authorities in the ministry, terminating her services.

Uke in her plea claimed that she had been working as an Aanganwadi Sevika for the last 30 years and have had a really good career so far. However, she was accused of not providing nutritious meals to many of the beneficiary students for whom it was meant and that she also deprived many of the students micronutrients by not distributing and providing Vitamin supplements and other food items of nourishment.

Uke was served with show-cause notices in this regard. She responded to the notices and denied allegations that she deliberately destructed iron tablets.

"But, as regards her other acts pertaining to deprivation of benefit of nutrition meals, she has admitted them. In her reply which is filed on record, she has admitted that she did not provide food packets to some of the students," the judges noted, adding, "She admitted that she did not provide any nutritious meals to some students and that it was due to inadvertence on her part and that she would make good the mistake by delivering the food packets at the home of all students."

The bench said that when the misconduct is admitted by Uke then there is no point to her now challenging the termination of her service.

"Besides, the misconduct which has been proved in this case is of very serious nature. Children are an innocent lot. They are not aware of what is coming to the school or Anganwadi Centre and what is meant for them and they are completely dependent for their meals upon their guardians, mentors and seniors whom they consider as their everything for every purpose," the judges observed.

"When such absolute faith is placed in the seniors and the masters by the children, it is for the seniors and the masters to conduct themselves in a way as would not betray the faith of such innocents even in a slightest manner," the judges observed, further adding, "But in this case the person on whom the children are dependent and in whom the children had placed their complete faith who is Uke, has betrayed the faith by depriving the children of the nourishment that was to be provided to them."

This misconduct of Uke, the judges said is very serious and it has the potential of causing a long-term adverse impact of the next generations of the nation, which are our future.

"In such circumstances, terminating the service of Uke cannot be seen to be perverse or arbitrary or contrary to law. There is no merit in the petition and it stands dismissed," the judges held.

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Published on: Saturday, August 28, 2021, 06:35 PM IST
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