Allahabad: The Allahabad High Court on Monday sought Uttar Pradesh government`s reply on a public interest litigation alleging that a 75-year-old dalit woman died of starvation in a remote village near here as she was too frail to earn money to buy food.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Dilip Gupta asked the state government to file its reply within three weeks on the recent death of Chameli Devi, a resident of Khangatiya village in Jasra block of Allahabad district`s trans-Yamuna region.
The PIL was filed by four law interns associated with the Human Rights Law network who blamed the woman`s death on the "failure of the Public Distribution System to ensure regular supply of food grains to the needy".
The petitioners claimed that they came to know of the starvation death through a news report last week following which they visited the village and learnt that the woman had died after having spent several days without food as she was too frail to earn money sufficient for buying food from the market while the fair price shop nearby was unable to provide her with her quota.
Alleging that "corruption and apathy" of government officials as well as Gram Sabhas had led to a "collapse" of welfare schemes targeting the poor, the petitioners claimed that although the state government has empowered the concerned Lekhpal, Gram Pradhan and Block Development Officer for providing immediate" monetary assistance of Rs 1000 to anybody facing severe malnutrition following prolonged hunger, the benefit was not given to Chameli Devi.