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Gauhati High Court directs state respondent to file affidavit on functioning of Nagaland State Food Committee

The Gauhati High Court directed State respondent to file an affidavit bringing on record as to whether the Nagaland State Food Committee is presently functioning and further as to where the State Food Committee is functioning from.

The Kohima Division Bench of Justice Devashis Baruah and Justice Susmita Phukan Khaund heard a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by the petitioners bringing to the attention of the Court that in violation to the provisions of Section 16 of the National Food Security Act, 2013 and the Nagaland Food Security Act, 2016 the State Food Commission have not yet been set up. Further to that the petitioners have also sought for a Social Audit to be carried out in respect to the implementation under the said Act of 2013 since the year 2016 till date.

The Court noted that submissions were made on the earlier occasions before the Court that the State Food Commission have been duly set up. In pursuance to that the Court, vide an Order dated 22.02.2023 had directed the State respondents to file an affidavit and in pursuance thereto, on 25.07.2023 an affidavit has been filed by the respondent .

It has been mentioned in the affidavit that the State Food Commission has been constituted with the Chairman, Member Secretary and 2 (two) members of the State Food Commission as per the Nagaland Food Security Rules, 2016. Apart from that there has been creation of post of LDA-cumComputer Assistant and the post of a Stenographer.

The said Notification by which Nagaland State Food Commission was constituted and notified is not a part of the instant proceedings. However, during the course of hearing, L.T. Sangtam, Additional A.G., Nagaland, appearing on behalf of respondents had placed before the Court a Notification dated 15.03.2021, whereby the Governor of Nagaland had constituted the State Food Commission for the State of Nagaland for the purpose of monitoring and reviewing the implementation of the National Food Security Act, 2013.

The said Notification was placed before the Court during the course of hearing and the same is kept on record and marked with the letter “X”. It is also seen from the affidavit filed by the respondents that a Chairman have been appointed vide an Order dated 23.03.2021 and on 04.04.2022, 2 (two) persons were appointed as LDA-cum-Computer Assistant and Stenographer respectively. The records, however, is not clear as to where the State Food Committee is presently functioning from.

Further to that, Neiteo Koza, counsel on behalf of the petitioner submits that from some newspaper reports it has been mentioned that the State Food Committee would only be functioning from the month of November, 2024, which however, the learned counsel for the respondents stoutly denies.

The matter will be listed again on 28.02.2024.

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