Kerala HC stays Lakshadweep Administration order to exclude non-vegetarian items from mid-day meals

Queency – 

The Kerala High Court has stayed the implementation of the Lakshadweep Administration’s order to exclude non-vegetarian items from the mid-day meals stating that there exists no reason to take such action considering the vital aspect of health factor amongst children.

The stay comes after Advocate Ajmal Ahmed R. challenged the order claiming it to be prima facie arbitrary and in violation of principles of natural justice.

Ahmed contended that exclusion of meat and chicken from the mid-day meal is contrary to the National Programme of Mid-day Meal in Schools and Annual Budget for 2020-21, which clearly provides a provision of including the same in the schools of Lakshadweep.

The Court observed that the menu of the mid-day meal has been followed for several years without any objection on the same.

Further, it was observed that the sudden change in the menu has no reason behind it as it has been opined by the physicians that non-vegetarian food is important for the growth and health of the children.

Further to the arguments and the physician’s opinion, the Court stayed the implementation of the order and issued an interim order to the respondents to provide food including non-vegetarian items, as it was included before.

Since the petitioners raised the contention of shutting down dairy farms too, the Court provided an interim stay on it and ordered the dairy farms to function in the same way they used to.

The matter is now listed for further hearing on 30 June and directed the respondents to file their counter with relevant documents.

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