Allahabad: Close on the heels of the mid-day meal tragedy in Bihar, the Allahabad High Court has disapproved of teaching staff at government schools being saddled with the implementation of the scheme in Uttar Pradesh.
A division bench comprising Justice Shiva Kirti Singh and Justice Vikram Nath, hearing a PIL, on Wednesday observed that "the duty of teachers and principals of schools is to teach the students and not to supervise the cooking of meals".
The Public Interest Litigation was filed by Meerut-based UP Pradhanacharya Parishad.
The PIL had challenged an order of the District Inspector of Schools, dated June 19, whereby the earlier system of NGOs being entrusted with preparing mid-day meals was scrapped and principals were directed to get the food prepared in their respective schools under their personal supervision.
The petitioners had contended that the new system would interfere with the duties of teachers in Meerut and pointed out that NGOs were taking care of mid-day meals in a number of neighbouring districts.
Expressing surprise over the submission, the court said, "There must be uniformity across the state with regard to who shall be entrusted with a specific task like preparing mid-day meals".
Directing the state government to submit its policy with regard to mid-day meals by the next date of hearing on August 5, the court ordered that in Meerut, the previous system (of NGOs preparing mid-day meals) would continue until further orders.
23 children died in Bihar after taking poisoned food during a mid-day meal.