SC upholds omission of meat products in midday meals in Lakshadweep

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a decision of the Lakshadweep administration omitting meat and chicken from the menu of mid-day meals in schools and shutting down of dairy farms.

A bench comprising Justices Aniruddha Bose and Bela M. Trivedi was considering a special leave petition filed by a resident of island against the decision of the Kerala High Court passed in September 2021 refusing to entertain a PIL against the change in mid-day meal’s menu.

The Supreme Court said that it is not within the court’s domain to decide the choice of food for children of a particular region and dismissed the plea on the ground that it merely questioned the policy decision without pointing out any legal breach.

In an interim direction passed in May last year, the top court had directed the Lakshadweep administration to continue including non-vegetarian food items in the mid-day meals for school children.

However, Additional Solicitor General K.M. Nataraj, appearing for the Union Territory administration, was consistently pressing for vacation of the interim order saying that the exclusion and inclusion of items from the menu of the mid-day meal scheme should be best left to the government, being a policy matter.

He had argued that omitting meat and chicken from the menu of mid-day meals, and inclusion of fruits and dry fruits is perfectly in tune with the objectives of the mid-day meal scheme.

The law officer added that the nutritional requirements of children will be met by such modification, which is in keeping with the objectives of the mid-day meal guidelines.

“In Lakshadweep, meat and chicken are normally part of the regular menu in almost all families. On the other hand, consumption of fruits and dry fruits is very less among the islanders. Therefore, omitting meat and chicken from the menu of mid-day meals, and inclusion of fruits and dry fruits, is perfectly in tune with the objectives of the mid-day meal scheme,” the UT administration had told the top court in its pleadings.


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