Kerala HC dismisses plea against removal of meat from Lakshadweep’s midday meal menu

Administration also decided to shut dairy farms in the islands

A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Friday dismissed a public interest litigation against the Lakshadweep administration’s decision to remove meat from the midday meal scheme of the schools in the islands and close down dairy farms. The petition was dismissed by the Bench led by Chief Justice S. Manikumar.

According to the petitioner, Ajmal Ahmed of Kavaratti, the removal of meat from the midday meal scheme is contrary to the National Programme of Midday Meals in schools as it goes against the very objective of ensuring physical and mental health of the children.

‘No consultations’

The decision by the district task force to alter the menu was part of the Administrator’s ‘ill-motivated intention to implement his hidden agenda.’ In fact, the new menu was implemented without any deliberations and consultations. The petition also sought a directive to the administration not to implement any reforms infringing on the ethnic culture, heritage, and food habit of the islanders.

He also also alleged that without assigning reasons, the Administrator had ordered closure of all dairy farms run by the Department of Animal Husbandry in the islands.

‘Farms unviable’

S. Manu, counsel for the Lakshadweep administration, submitted that the decision to change the menu was taken due to difficulties in procurement of certain items in view of COVID-19. As for the shut-down of dairy farms, he submitted that there were two dairy farms in Lakshadweep. Of the 69 animals in the farms, only 47 were milking. As the quantity of milk produced had gone down, the maintenance of the two farms had become unviable. Hence, it was decided to close the farm.

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