The Supreme Court on Monday directed the continuation of the interim order gone along the Kerala judicature which directed the Lakshadweep administration to incorporate non-vegetarian food items meat and chicken within the midday meals for varsity children and to continue the functioning of dairy farms within the region.
A bench comprising Justices Indira Banerjee and AS Bopanna passed the order while issuing notice during a Special Leave Petition filed against the September 2021 judgment of the Kerala supreme court which dismissed a PIL challenging the Lakshwadweep administration's decision to exclude chicken and meat from mid-day meals and to shut down the dairy farms within the region.
Before dismissing the petition, the supreme court had in June 2021 passed an interim order to remain the administration's decisions. The Division Bench of the supreme court had passed the subsequent directions on June 23, 2021 :
(i) Functioning of the dairy farms should be continued until further orders
(ii) Food, including meat, chicken, fish and egg, and other items, prepared and served to the varsity going children of Lakshadweep, as wiped out the past, should be continued until further orders. to form it clear, the sooner system should continue.
The directions were passed in an exceedingly PIL filed by Ajmal Ahmed, a resident of Lakshadweep and a practicing lawyer.
"We are unable to know how there can be a change within the menu of food-items given to the youngsters, prepared taking into consideration, the vital aspect of health factor...Prima facie, we discover no reason for the change of food items, with the exclusion of meat and chicken. Therefore, we are inclined to pass an interim order directing the respondents,to provide food, as done before, by including meat and chicken,to the kids of the faculties in Lakshadweep", the court had observed then.
However, on September 17, 2021, the supreme court dismissed the writ petition, approving the choices taken by the administration. Today, the Supreme Court, while considering the SLP filed by Ajmal Ahmed, directed that the interim order elapsed the tribunal on June 23, 2021, will continue. the highest Court has issued notices to the Union of India and therefore the Lakshadweep administrator Praful Khoda Patel.
While dismissing the petition, the court observed that as per the policy of the National Programme of Mid-day meal, what's relevant is that the nutritional value of the food and not the type of food supplied. The midday meal scheme is launched by the govt to serve midday meals to the varsity going children, and it might, in no way, interfere with the food habits of the youngsters reception, the Court had observed.
"Nobody can insist the State/Union Territory or the govt of India to supply them any particular reasonably food within the program envisaged by the respective governments", the HC had said.
The tribunal had accepted the administration's stand that the menu was altered to suit the sort of food locally available which the National Food Security Act 2013 doesn't mandate the availability of non-vegetrian food. The administration asserted that the changed menu was selected the premise of recommendations of experts which it caters to the nutritional needs of the youngsters.
The HC had also accepted the administration's explanation that the dairy farms were decided to be closed as they weren't financially viable.
In the petition filed before the Supreme Court, the petitioner argued that altering the food menu violates the correct to choice of food under Article 21 of the Constitution which the changes interfere with the standard food habits of the island inhabitants. it absolutely was also contended that inhabitants of Lakshadweep engaged mostly in Government activities to eke out their livelihood. The Administrator's direction to right away shut down all the dairy farms go past the Department of husbandry and holding auctions for this regard was contended to bring grave consequences to the people on the islands.