N a major setback to Lakshadweep Administrator Praful Patel, the Kerala High Court Tuesday stayed his decision excluding chicken and meat from the menu of school-going children.
A division bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly, prima facie, found the decision contrary to the National Programme of Mid Day Meals in Schools.
“We are of the view that switching over to a different menu, with the exclusion of chicken and meat, would run contrary to Exhibit-P7, especially, when it is constituted with the avowed object of ensuring the physical and mental health of the children”, the bench said.
The court also pointed out that a physician who had attended the meeting in which the decision to exclude chicken and meat was taken, had opined that non-vegetarian food (fish, chicken, and egg) was essential for the growth of children and that children needed a healthy balanced diet containing foods from each group (veg along with non-veg), so that they got a wide range of nutrients to help them stay healthy.
The court said there was no reason why the opinion of the physician was not taken note of.
Besides, the court also stayed another decision of the Union Territory directing closure of all daily farms. It said the functioning of the dairy farms should be continued until further orders.
The order came was passed on a petition filed by one Ajmal Ahmed R, a lawyer and an Executive Member of the Lakshadweep Bar Association. The petitioner contended that the decisions of the Lakshadweep Administrator violated the right to life and infringed on the ethnic culture and heritage of the island.