Lessons from India’s Right to Food Campaign


In April 2001 People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) approached the Supreme Court of India arguing that the government has a duty to provide greater relief in the context of mass hunger. The litigation has now become the best known precedent on the right to food internationally. This paper reviews the litigation with a view to understand various strategies used by the litigants to create and enforce far-reaching entitlements in a near legal vacuum on the right to food. This is followed by a discussion on the lessons from this case for rights based approach to development at large.

Citation:  S. Vivek and Basudeb Guha-Khasnobis, “Rights Based Approach To Development: Lessons From The Right To Food Movement,” in Food Insecurity, Vulnerability and Human Rights Failure, Studies in Development Economics and Policy (Basingstoke: UK: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2007).

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About Vivek Srinivasan

I work with the Program on Liberation Technology at Stanford University. Before this, I worked with the Right to Food Campaign and other rights based campaigns in India. To learn more, click here.

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