The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave three weeks’ time to the Union government, as a final opportunity, to frame a nationwide policy on community kitchens, Live Law reported.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana said that a welfare state has a constitutional duty to make sure that no dies of hunger.

The court was hearing a petition seeking the framing of a community kitchen policy aimed at avoiding starvation deaths. In the previous hearing of the case on October 27, the court had asked the Union government to arrive at a decision on the implementation of a community kitchens scheme after reviewing similar schemes in various states, according to PTI.

The under-secretary of the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Administration subsequently filed an affidavit in this regard before the Supreme Court. The bench, however, expressed dissatisfaction with the affidavit, and added that the principal secretary should have filed it instead.

The court observed that the Centre’s affidavit only listed out information that had already been given by state governments about the community kitchen schemes that they are running. Chief Justice Ramana told the Centre that the court expected a uniform model from it.

Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, told the court that a meeting was held in this regard on September 9, but it did not lead to anything concrete, Bar and Bench reported.

However, in response, the court said that no state can object if the Centre wants to save people from dying of hunger.

“We can’t leave the people in the lurch and say everything is fine,” the court remarked.

The bench asked the Centre to formulate a scheme and present it before the court during the next hearing. The case has been adjourned for three weeks.

Chief Justice Ramana also clarified that the court was not dealing with malnutrition in the present case, but hunger.

During the hearing, the lawyer for the petitioners said that they have prepared of note of suggestions after analysing schemes formulated by state governments. The court asked the Centre to examine the petitioners’ suggestions as well.