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Supreme Court Upholds Lakshadweep's Decision To Exclude Meat From School Mid-Day Meals

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the Lakshadweep administration’s decision to ban meat from midday meals and to shut down dairy farms in the region.

Midday Meal Scheme: Representational Image
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The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the Lakshadweep administration’s decision to ban meat from midday meals and to shut down dairy farms in the region. The petitioner had claimed that the regulations introduced by Lakshadweep administrator Praful Khoda Patel infringe upon the heritage, ethnic culture, food habits, and the rights of the residents granted under the Constitution of India.

A bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Bela M Trivedi said that the judiciary cannot interfere with such policy or administrative decisions. “It is not the court’s domain as to what food should be eaten by children of a particular region," the court noted in its order. 

In September 2021, meat was removed from the school mid-day meal menu by the newly-formed administration of the Lakshadweep, amid criticism from opposition parties. Ajmal Ahmed, a lawyer and resident of Lakshadweep, had filed a plea against the Union territory administration’s decisions, which was dismissed by the Kerala High Court. The top court on Thursday was hearing the lawyer's appeal against the Kerala High Court's dismissal of his earlier plea.

His plea pointed out that Lakshadweep had been providing midday meals, including meat, since the 1950s to students from pre-primary to elementary levels. Since 2009, non-vegetarian meals had been given to students till Class 12 as well. 

However, the Lakshadweep administration had decided to drop non-vegetarian food such as chicken, beef and other meat from the menu despite expert advice to the contrary, his plea said. The court meanwhile said this was not an issue where the courts could interfere, reported Bar and Bench.

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