Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has sought to know from the Maharashtra government if it distributes nutritious food to children and lactating mothers living in the tribal belt of the state.

A division bench of Justices N H Patil and G S Kulkarni posed the question earlier this week while hearing a bunch of PILs highlighting the rise in malnutrition deaths and illnesses among those living in the Melghat region of Vidarbha and other tribal areas of Maharashtra.

Different benches of the high court have passed several orders on the issue over the last two years, directing the government to ensure that people in the tribal areas get adequate nutritious food, proper healthcare, sanitation and education facilities.

On July 17, the government submitted before the HC a chart indicating the number of health camps held in Melghat, Amravati district, to address the issue of malnutrition. The chart also shows that the government would regularly hold such camps to provide medical aid to children, newborns, women and others.

The court took the chart on record, but sought to know what steps were being taken to provide food to children and lactating mothers.

“The government pleader shall take instructions as to whether the departments concerned of the state machinery distribute nutritious food to children and lactating mothers,” the court said.

The bench posted the petitions for further hearing on August 1.