As schools across the country have been closed amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, the Supreme Court on Wednesday, March 18, issued notices to the state governments and Union Territories seeking reply regarding the action taken by them to address the non-availability of mid-day meals to children.
The notice, which was also sent to the Union Health Ministry, was issued after the SC bench led by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, and comprising of justices G R Gavai and Surya Kant, took suo moto cognisance of the issue.
Expressing his concern, the CJI said, “We are concerned about the supply of mid-day meals because of shutdown of schools due to coronavirus. There is a problem, children are not able to get their mid-day meal..”
The court also mentioned the example of Kerala government which has taken action to ensure that mid-day meals are provided to the children at their homes, in the wake of temporary closure of schools. While making the announcement, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan had said that the action is being undertaken by the government as the mid-day meals provided in schools every day are often the only major source of nutrition for these kids.
Following this, the court said, “We want to know, what other states and UTs are doing?”
The apex court also appointed Senior Advocate Sanjay Hegde as Amicus Curiae in the case, reported Live Law. The notice was accepted by Additional Solicitor General (ASG) A S Nadkarni, who was appearing for the Centre, on behalf of health ministry.
As the COVID-19 cases continue to increase in the country everyday, most states and union territories have temporarily closed down educational institutes including schools and colleges.
Schools in Delhi-NCR are closed till March 31.
Also read: COVID-19: Bihar Govt to Give Only Rs 7.5 Per Meal to Children Deprived of Midday Meals