HC Kohima Bench demands clarity Nagaland State Food Commission

Directs State Government to file affidavit

Dimapur | February 21 
Morung Express News

For the second time in exactly one year, the Gauhati High Court Kohima Bench has directed the Nagaland State respondents to file an affidavit by February 27, bringing on record whether the “Nagaland State Food Commission is presently functioning.” 

The affidavit should also apprise the court of the location from where the State Food Commission is operating, as per the order issued by the Division Bench of Justice Devashis Baruah and Justice Susmita Phukan Khaund, resuming  the hearing of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) related to the constitution of the Commission on February 21.

On February 22, 2023, the Kohima Bench had previously directed the State respondents to file a comprehensive affidavit showing whether the Nagaland State Food Commission is fully functioning. 

The State respondents include the Chief Secretary, Commissioner and Secretary Department of Food and Civil Supplies (F&CS), and Director F&CS.

The PIL was filed by the petitioners in 2022, contending that in violation of the provisions of Section 16 of the National Food Security Act, 2013, and the Nagaland Food Security Act, 2016, the State Food Commission had not yet been set up. The petitioners also sought a Social Audit to be carried out concerning the implementation under the said Act of 2013 from the year 2016 until the present.

Reviewing the records, the Bench noted that submissions were made in the earlier court session that the State Food Commission had been duly set up. In pursuance of the February 22, 2023 order, the State respondents filed the affidavit on July 27, 2023, it noted. 

The affidavit mentioned that the State Food Commission had been constituted with the Chairman, Member Secretary, and 2 members as per the Nagaland Food Security Rules, 2016. Additionally, the post of LDA-cum-Computer Assistant and the post of a Stenographer had been created.

During the hearing, the Nagaland Additional Advocate General presented a notification dated March 15, 2021, stating that 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 NFSA, 2013. 

However, the counsel for the petitioners argued that according to some newspaper reports, the State Food Commission would only be functioning from November 2024. 

While the counsel for the State respondents “stoutly” denied this, the Bench, listing the matter for hearing on February 28, directed them to file an affidavit by February 27, indicating whether the Nagaland State Food Commission is presently functioning and its location.