ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From the “Fundamental Right to Food” to the “Fundamental Duty to Feed”: The Development of Compassionate Jurisprudence in India

After getting the sanction from the Supreme Court of India, the judgment of the Delhi High Court by Justice J R Midha has not only taken a beating at the concept of animal law in this country but also widened the dimensions of the compassionate jurisprudence already inherent in the Indian Constitution as a fundamental duty. This case was initially based on a typical dispute between two sets of residents in society: one who feeds stray dogs in public places and another who feels such practice creates a nuisance in society. The most important part of this judgment is that the fundamental duty “to have compassion for living creatures” has also been extended to the “right to feed stray animals.” This judgment has followed several observations of the high courts and the Supreme Court to safeguard the “life” of animals under Article 21 and, most interestingly, applied the ratio of the Jallikattu case of the Court where it was held that Article 51A(g) of the Constitution is the “magna carta of animal rights.” The Court also constituted a committee to implement the directions and ordered the display of the judgment for future judges and to set a precedent.

Portability in the Public Distribution System

The public distribution system in India is a major instrument for achieving the goal of “Zero Hunger.” Despite the vast amounts of resources spent, the PDS suffers from several inefficiencies largely attributable to the monopoly of agents involved in the last-mile delivery of grains. To address this issue, several state governments in India have started implementing a novel intervention called portability. This intervention offers beneficiaries the choice of when and where they can avail of their food entitlements while the government controls what and how much. We use detailed and large-scale programme data from Andhra Pradesh to analyse the uptake of portability among the beneficiaries and identify its underlying drivers.


Accessing the Right to Food in Delhi

The renewed Public Distribution System (PDS) under the “rights-based” National Food Security Act, 2013 has increased access to foodgrains in Delhi. However, the Aadhaar-enabled PDS has created new barriers and glitches undermining the promise of efficient, error-free, and transparent service-delivery.

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