The Supreme Court Monday sought a response from the Centre and others on a plea challenging the decision of the Lakshadweep administration to close dairy farms and remove meat products, including chicken from the menu of midday meals for school children.
A bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and A S Bopanna issued notice to the Union of India, Union Territory Lakshadweep, and others on an appeal filed against the order of the Kerala High Court which had dismissed a PIL challenging the decision of the Lakshadweep administration.
The division bench of the high court had in September 2021, dismissed the PIL filed by Kavaratti-native Ajmal Ahmed who alleged that when Praful Khoda Patel took charge as island administrator in December last year, his top priority was to close down the farms run by the Animal Husbandry department and to ‘attack’ the food habits of the Islanders, being followed from time immemorial.
Challenging the May 21 2021 order of the Director of Animal Husbandry, directing immediate closure of all the dairy farms, Ahmed said it was done with an intention to implement the proposed ‘Animal Preservation (Regulation), 2021,’ which bans the slaughter of cows, calves, and bulls.
He had submitted that as per this proposed rule, the sale and purchase of beef and beef products would be banned by closing down the farms, curtailing the islanders’ source of getting milk products, and forcing them to purchase milk products imported from Gujarat.
The petitioner had also challenged the administration’s decision to remove chicken and other meat items from the menu of midday meals for school children in Lakshadweep.
“As per the decision taken by the said committee in the meeting held on January 27, 2021, a new menu has been suggested, totally altering the prevailing menu for mid-day meal for the students in the Islands”, he had alleged.