The Supreme Court has affirmed the Lakshadweep administration’s decision to exclude meat products, including chicken, from the midday meal menu for school children, emphasizing that the court does not have the authority to dictate dietary choices. A bench consisting of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Bela M Trivedi dismissed the plea that contested the Lakshadweep administration’s decision, asserting that courts should not interfere in administrative matters. The bench clarified that determining what food should be consumed by children in a specific region is not within the court’s jurisdiction, as policy decisions fall outside the scope of judicial review.
This decision came in response to a petition challenging the actions of the union territory administration, which included the closure of dairy farms and the removal of meat products, including chicken, from the midday meal menu. The Kerala High Court had previously stayed these actions on June 22, 2021, but later dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Ajmal Ahmed in September 2021. Ahmed had alleged that when Praful Khoda Patel assumed the role of island administrator in December of the preceding year, his primary focus was on shutting down dairy farms operated by the animal husbandry department and altering the traditional dietary habits of the island’s residents.
The high court’s decision to dismiss the PIL cited geographical challenges on the islands, the potential disruption of animal husbandry activities, and reduced milk production as reasons for its ruling. Additionally, the petitioner had contested the administration’s move to eliminate chicken and other meat items from the midday meals provided to school children.