The Supreme Court on Friday sought replies from the Centre,Bihar and other state governments on two PILs that have sought guidelines for strict implementation of the National Mid-Day Meal Scheme by maintaining the best of hygiene in cooking and serving the meal to schoolchildren.
A Bench of Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam and Ranjana P Desai issued notices on the PILs by advocate Sanjeeb Panigrahi and NGO Antarrashtriya Manav Adhikar Manch, pleading for the courts intervention in the wake of recent mid-day meal tragedy in Bihar where 23 schoolchildren lost their lives after eating poisonous meal.
The court also sought status reports from the Centre,states and union territories over their compliance with its previous directives on proper implementation of the mid-day meal scheme.
The NGOs PIL,filed through advocate Shobha,requested the court to frame necessary guidelines to be followed by each state government to make certain that the mid-day meals are prepared and then served to children with certain basic standards.
The PIL also sought a legislation for implementation of these guidelines and also to prescribe penal actions to be taken against persons found guilty of negligence in implementation of the National Mid-Day Meal Scheme.
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Citing the Bihar incident,the petition also pleaded for appointment of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) for a thorough investigation into the incident in the wake of several children dying and others falling ill due to adulterated food.
The PIL by Panigrahi requested the court to issue directives for initiating appropriate steps forthwith to prevent death and illness of children due to contaminated,poisoned or unhygienic mid-day meal.
It also asked for directing the Centre and state governments to take such measures so as to develop and enforce such procedures and mechanisms to comply with the hygiene,safety and protection of our valuable national assets like children.