The Delhi high court on Wednesday directed the Centre to immediately implement its plan to completely ban junk food and carbonate beverages from school and college canteens across the country.
"We do not need lip service. We want the government to take effective steps to ensure that the sale and supply of junk food is completely banned near educational institutions and an action taken report is filed by November 2," justice AK Sikri and justice Siddharth Mridul said.
They were reacting to an affidavit filed by Centre, which said that the health ministry “has written” to health ministers of all states to “consider” withdrawal of carbonated beverages and junk food from school and college canteens.
The Centre also said it “has invited” proposals from experienced agencies, organisations and institutions for framing guidelines to provide safe food in educational institutions.
“We are not satisfied with the affidavit. It cannot solve the problem. Let something positive be done,” the court said.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation seeking a ban on sale of junk food within 1,500 feet radius of schools.
Petitioners Rahul Verma and lawyer Rakesh Prabhakar of NGO Uday Foundation told the court : “It is time we change the way kids eat in schools. Such a ban will set new standards for healthy food. On one hand, children are taught in classrooms about good nutrition ... on the other hand, we continue to make junk food available to them.”
They said most schools allow easy access to junk foods and carbonated drinks for children in canteens and nearby shops.