The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Thursday issued notices to the Centre and Delhi government over death of three minor sisters allegedly due to starvation in Mandawali area of Delhi.
News agency PTI quoted a NHRC official saying that notice has also been issued to the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
The girls, aged eight, four and two, were brought to the LBS Hospital in Mayur Vihar by their mother and a friend on Tuesday. The hospital authorities later declared them brought dead.
The NHRC has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports that the girls died allegedly due to malnutrition and starvation in east Delhi’s Mandawali area on July 24, a senior official said.
The commission today issued notices to the Delhi Chief Secretary and Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development, seeking reports in the matter in four weeks, he said.
Both the authorities have also been asked to submit a status report on the Antodhya Anna Yojana — a central government-sponsored scheme to provide highly subsidised food to the poorest families, the NHRC said.
The commission observed that the contents of the media reports raise a serious issue of violation of rights of the three children.
Right to food is an integral part of right to life enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution. Moreover, the National Food Security Act, 2013 has also been enacted to provide food and nutritional security in human life cycle approach, by ensuring access to adequate quantity of quality food at an affordable price to all its citizens to live a life with dignity, it said.
“It is, therefore, evident that despite legal provisions and machinery in place, the children had to starve to death. The deceased children have been denied their basic human rights. The state authorities, therefore, are lacking in discharging their duty,” the NHRC said in a statement.
According to doctors, the sisters were “visibly malnourished” when they were brought to the hospital, and the autopsy showed that their “stomachs were empty” as if they had not eaten for over a week, doctors said.
Earlier today, Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said the Centre has ordered probe into the case.
The city government yesterday ordered a magisterial probe into the matter, even as the BJP and Congress attacked the AAP over the incident.
Official sources refuted claims by some AAP leaders that the state government’s proposed doorstep delivery of ration scheme would have averted such a tragedy, saying the family was not eligible for subsidised ration as it did not have a ration card.
The AAP government has been alleging that the Lieutenant Governor, a Centre’s appointee, is not allowing it to implement the scheme.
The sources said it is up to the state government to fix eligibility criteria for ration card beneficiaries. The responsibility of food distribution also lies with the state government, they added.
The central government’s job is to deliver subsidised good to the state’s godowns, they said.
(With PTI inputs)