When the PIL seeking resumption of hot cooked meals to school going children came up for hearing, the first bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice PD Audikesavalu said, “It is more than likely that schools may re-open in the next few weeks. The authorities should ensure that as and when schools re-open across the State, the mid-day meal scheme is resumed immediately.
“In addition, it is now possible for making hot cooked meals available to all school-going children in the rural area whether by opening the local Anganwadi centres or by taking other appropriate measures at the local level,” the bench added.
The bench in its order also recorded the State government’s submission that every effort would be taken to ensure that the programme was resumed as it was prior to the lockdown that has been in force since March 2020 as and when schools re-open. To the extent possible, it would resume even prior to school reopening, the submission added.
After the curbs imposed during the second surge of the pandemic were considerably eased over the recent weeks, the supply of hot cooked meals has resumed, the bench recorded. “It is evident from a letter dated September 24, 2021, issued by the Department of Integrated Child Development Services to the Principal Secretary in the Social Welfare and Women Empowerment Department of the State,” it added while posing the plea for further hearing to October 22.