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Taking serious note of the tribal population being "neglected" for too long by authorities in Maharashtra, the Bombay High Court today directed that all PILs pertaining to their welfare be heard by a special bench. A bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice M S Sonak also directed the state government to place on record all steps taken so far to curb malnutrition-related deaths and illness among the tribal population, particularly children. The bench directed the state's advocate general to submit a report detailing the steps taken to comply with the previous orders of the high court on extending welfare measures in the tribal areas. It was hearing a bunch of public interest litigations (PILs) highlighting a rise in malnutrition-related deaths and illness among those living in Melghat region of Vidarbha and other tribal areas in Maharashtra. Different benches of the high court have passed several orders over the last two years, directing the state government to ensure that those in the tribal areas in the state get adequate nutrition, health care, sanitation and education facilities. However, the court has also noted in almost every hearing conducted in the case in the past that the state has done little to implement its orders. Chief Justice Chellur thus, today ordered that all the PILs pertaining to tribal welfare and related matters be transferred to the special bench to ensure better intervention by the court. The special bench, led by Justice Mridula Bhatkar, will issue necessary directions in the cases and also monitor the implementation of its orders. "The tribal population in the state has remained completely neglected and this is not done.
This is a serious matter and the state must take note and discharge its duties," Chief Justice Chellur said.
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