Supreme Court directs Lakshadweep administration to continue including meat in mid-day meals at schools

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A Supreme Court bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and AS Bopanna today continued the interim order passed by Kerala High Court to continue serving meat in the mid-day meals provided at schools in Lakshadweep islands.

The court was hearing a plea by a resident of Kavaratti challenging the order of Kerala High Court wherein his public interest litigation challenging the decision of Lakshadweep administration to close dairy farms and discontinue meat from the menu of mid day meal in schools on the Lakshadweep islands The administration of Lakshadweep island had on May 21, 2021 passed an order to shut down dairy farms on the Islands and further directed veterinary units to dispose of available animals including bulls and calves by auctioning them.

The counsel for the petitioner contended that the decision of the administration is against the cultural heritage and food habits of the residents of the Island. It was further contended that the decision is against provisions of the constitution of India. The counsel argued that the new menu for mid-day meals without any meat products is violative of the right to food guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constituition of India. The counsel also contended that the High Court did not consider the right to food is a fundamental right provided for in Constitution of India and that even minors, have the right to have food of their own choice. The counsel informed the court that the proposed ban on sale and purchase of beef and beef products  would deprive the inhabitants of the island a source of  milk products, and will eventually force them to purchase the same from states like Gujarat. 

The court on hearing the submissions of the petitioners issued notice in the plea and directed the centre to file a reply to the petition. The court further extended the interim order granted by the Kerala High Court asking the administration to serve meat items in the mid-day meal program.

Case title: Ajmal Ahmed Vs Union of India