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'Ban junk food in schools'

delhi Updated: Dec 23, 2010 00:00 IST
Harish V Nair

Steaming pizzas, burgers and soft drinks may be out of bounds for children across Delhi during schooltime if an NGO has its way before the Delhi high court.

Admitting a public interest litigation seeking a ban of sale of junk food and carbonated drinks within a 1,500 feet radius of schools in Delhi, the court, on Wednesday, sought the views of the Delhi government, health ministry, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and ministry of education within six weeks.

Taking the issue of 'good nutrition for children and healthy lifestyle' seriously, the Bench appointed former judge of the Delhi high court and senior lawyer Neeraj Kishan Kaul as amicus curiae to assist on the issue. The bench asked the centre's lawyer and Kaul to research the issue.

Members of the NGO Uday Foundation Rahul Verma and lawyer Rakesh Prabhakar told the court: "It is... time we change the way kids eat in schools. Such a ban will set new standards for healthy foods. On one hand, children are taught in classroom about good nutrition ... on the other hand we continue to make junk food available to them".

They claimed that their November 2010 survey revealed most schools allowed easy access to junk foods and carbonated drinks for children in their canteens and shops nearby.

In 2006, then Union health minister Anbumani Ramadoss had said steps would be taken to ban junk food and colas in the school canteens and nearby premises across the country, they added.