CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Wednesday directed the Tamil Nadu government to consider reopening schools and anganwadis in rural areas at least to provide nutritious meals to children enrolled under the scheme.
The issue pertains to NGO Citizen Consumer and Civic Action Group moving a plea seeking to provide nutritious food to all children across the State who earlier benefited from the mid-day meal scheme. The petitioner also sought the food to be delivered to the children in each of the homes. In the wake of the pandemic, several children were missing their daily noon-meal food and each of the students should get adequate intake as per the National Food Security Act 2013, the petition said.
Senior Counsel NL Rajah appearing for the petitioner argued that children had taken to begging due to lack of provision of cooked nutritious meal in schools. The first bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy recording the submissions observed that it cannot be suspended indefinitely when the surge of the pandemic had gone down considerably.
“Does Tamil Nadu government have any plan to open schools in rural areas, where Covid-19 incidence is less, and provide nutritious meals to children?” asked the bench. The court also said anganwadis in rural places should be effectively utilised to provide food to children who are missing their food.
However, State Advocate General R Shunmughasundaram informed the court that he requires instructions from the State and sought that a short accommodation be provided to him. The court recording the submissions adjourned the plea to August 4 for the State to file a detailed report.