The Hon’ble Kerala High Court earlier this week on 22nd June 2021, Tuesday imposed a stay on the implementation of two controversial Orders passed in Lakshadweep. The Lakshadweep Administration is headed by Praful. K Patel as the new Administrator, under the said Orders, sought to close down dairy farms and to change the diet for school children by excluding non-vegetarian food from the mid-day meals scheme.
The PIL was filed before the Hon’ble Court stating that the closure of dairy farms and measures to alter children’s menu was taken by the Territory’s Administration with a malicious intention to bring changes in the culture and food habits of the indigenous people. The petitioners further contended that this move by the Administration comes as a preparatory measure to implement its earlier proposed Animal Preservation (Regulation) Act, 2021, which aims to ban cattle slaughter and consumption of beef and beef products and to pave way for a manufacturer from Gujarat to promote his dairy products in the region.
The petitioners in their plea said that the Orders Passed by the Administration violated their Constitutionally guaranteed rights under Articles 14 and 21 of the Indian Constitution.
The Hon’ble Division Bench constituted by Hon’ble Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Hon’ble Justice Shaji P. Chaly while imposing a stay on the said Orders expressed bewilderment on how such a sudden change could be brought to the school children’s menu when meat is considered vital for the healthy growth of children. The Hon’ble Bench through an interim Order held that the functioning of dairy farms and the earlier system of midday meals scheme, including chicken and other meat, should be continued until further orders.
The Hon’ble Court further ordered the respondents to reply to the contentions raised by the petitioners in the PIL within two weeks.