Published: 03rd May 2022
Include meat products in midday meal: Supreme Court directs Lakshadweep administration
In September 2021, the division bench of the high court had dismissed the PIL filed by Kavaratti-native Ajmal Ahmed
On Monday, May 2, the Supreme Court directed the continuation of an order of the Kerala High Court directing the administration of Lakshadweep to include meat products, like chicken, in the menu of midday meals for school children.
This happened when the top court was hearing a plea challenging the Lakshadweep administration's decision to close dairy farms and refrain from including meat products, including chicken, from the midday meal menu which is served to children, as reported by PTI.
Notices were issued to the Union of India, Union Territory of Lakshadweep, and others by a bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and AS Bopanna. This was based on an appeal which was filed against the order of the Kerala High Court which had dismissed a PIL challenging the decision of the Lakshadweep administration.
"Issue notice, returnable in two weeks after the ensuing summer vacation. In the meanwhile, the interim order passed by the High Court on June 22, 2021 shall continue," the bench said.
On June 22, 201, the high court stayed the operation of two orders of the Lakshadweep administration — to close down dairy farms and remove meat products, including chicken, from the menu of midday meals for school children.
In September 2021, the division bench of the high court had dismissed the PIL filed by Kavaratti-native Ajmal Ahmed. It was his allegation that since Praful Khoda Patel took charge of as the administrator of the island in December last year, his top priority has been to close down the farms which are run by the animal husbandry department. Also, to "attack" the food habits of the islanders being followed from time immemorial.
Challenging the May 21, 2021 order of the Director of Animal Husbandry, directing immediate closure of all dairy farms, Ahmed claimed that it was carried out with the purpose to implement the proposed Animal Preservation (Regulation), 2021, which bans the slaughter of cows, calves and bulls.
It was his submission that as per this proposed rule, that the sale and purchase of beef and beef products would be banned by shutting down farms, curtailing the islanders' source of getting milk products, and arm-twisting them to purchase milk products imported from Gujarat.
The petitioner had also challenged the administration's decision to remove chicken and other meat items from the menu of midday meals for school children in Lakshadweep.
"As per the decision taken by the said committee in the meeting held on January 27, 2021, a new menu has been suggested, totally altering the prevailing menu for midday meal for the students in the Islands," he had alleged.