Place records of implementation of RKSK scheme in Nagaland: HC directs

Morung Express News
Kohima | February 22

The Gauhati High Court Kohima Bench has directed the State respondents to submit an affidavit affirming the stand that the Rashtriya Kishore Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) is being implemented in Nagaland. 

The Division Bench, comprising Justice Devashis Baruah and Justice Susmita Phukan Khaund, issued the directive during the hearing of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) related to the scheme on February 21.

In the course of the hearing, the Court acknowledged the submission made by the counsel representing one of the State respondents, asserting that the RKSK scheme is currently being implemented in the state. 

However, the Court noted that this information is not apparent from the records. 

Therefore, it granted an opportunity to the concerned State respondents to present this stand through an affidavit, listing the matter for further hearing on February 28. 

The affidavit is required to be filed on or before February 27, with an advance copy provided to the petitioner’s counsel, stated the Court order.

The RKSK scheme, launched by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on January 7, 2014, aims to ensure the holistic development of the adolescent population.

According to the Court's records, when the PIL was initially heard in 2021, the petitioner argued that under the scheme, sanitary napkins are supposed to be provided to adolescent girls at a subsidized rate, along with the dissemination of awareness to the adolescence age group in different States and Union Territories of the Country.

A communication to this effect was sent by the Joint Secretary, MoHFW, to all Mission Directors of all the States and Union Territories on March 4, 2016.

However, the PIL contended that the scheme has not been implemented in the State of Nagaland, and those in need of sanitary napkins are compelled to purchase them from the open market at a high price.

Despite the petitioner's representation to the authorities on October 22, 2020, requesting the implementation of the Scheme, there was no response, leading to the filing of the PIL.

Status of Supplementary Nutrition
In another PIL, the Division Bench on Wednesday directed the respondents, particularly the Union of India represented by the Secretary of the Ministry of Women & Child Development and the Director of the Department of Social Welfare Nagaland, to apprise the Court of the current status regarding the implementation of Supplementary Nutrition under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme Rules 2015 on February 28.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the Division Bench closed a 2018 PIL seeking the Court’s intervention regarding non-adherence to the National Food Security Act, 2013, and the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) required under the provisions of the Act and the Rules framed thereafter.

The Court noted that during the course of the hearing, the State respondents, who are the Nodal Department in respect to the NFSA 2013 as well as the ICDS, have taken steps towards the implementation of the said Act and the Scheme. 

Considering the materials before this Court and, more particularly, the affidavit filed by the respondents, we are of the opinion that the further continuation of the instant PIL before this Court is not required, it observed. 

However, the Court noted that being obligated under NFSA, 2013, and the Rules as well as the ICDS, both the Central Government as well as the State Government shall provide the necessary facilities in accordance with the provisions of the said Act and Scheme.