Madhya Pradesh High Court directs self-help group to approach Collector over supply of mid-day meals

The Jabalpur Bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court on Wednesday, directed the self-help group to approach the Collector of district  Satna and Panna, who will decide whether the Petitioners can be allowed to continue to supply the mid-day meals or not.

The petitioners, Poshan Aahar Mahila Swa Sahatya Samooh Bamhor through its President Geeta Singh and others raised grievance and criticized the public notice dated March 1, 2021, whereby the applications have been invited to assign work of supplying the mid-day meals in District Satna and also in District Panna.

Paresh Pareek, Counsel for the petitioners submitted that the petitioners are the self help group supplying mid-day meals since long. He submitted that there is no complaint against the petitioners and any irregularity has been pointed out in supplying the mid-day meals.

Counsel also submitted that a policy has been issued on 20.01.2021 by the Department of Women and Child Development laying down the guidelines to administer and control supply of mid-day meals. In the  guidelines and policy framed by the respective department it is mentioned in Clause-12 that the self help group already selected and supplying mid-day meals, but no complaint and irregularity is noticed against them, they are allowed to continue to supply the same. If any irregularity is noticed, then after giving the opportunity of hearing to them, the Collector will take appropriate decision thereof.

Vivek Sharma appearing for the respondents/State states that under the present circumstance it cannot be determined whether any complaint and irregularities are noticed in the work of the Petitioners and if that has been done, that would be in the knowledge of the Collector and other respective authorities. He further stated  that the Petition can be disposed of directing the petitioners to approach and ask the Collector regarding their performance. If the Collector would think it appropriate, then would allow the petitioners to  continue the work of supplying the mid-day meals and if it is otherwise, then the Collector may take appropriate decisions.

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A Single Bench of Justice Sanjay Dwivedi while considering the Petition, ordered that “petition is disposed of directing the petitioners to approach the Collector and point out the arrangements made in the policy dated 20.01.2021 and according to which whether the petitioners can be allowed to continue to supply the mid-day meals or not.”

“The Collector being the sole authority can take appropriate decisions considering the provisions of the policy”, the Court clarified.
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