The Delhi government on Wednesday told the Delhi high court that it would issue directions to schools in the Capital to ban sale of junk food and carbonated drinks after the Centre comes up with guidelines in three months.
The Centre has told the court that all India guidelines in this regard will be in place by July 21.
“The Lt Governor has the power to issue directions under the Delhi School Education Act to ban sale of junk food in schools”, the government lawyer told a bench of Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice Jayant Nath.
The court was hearing a PIL filed by Rahul Verma of NGO Uday Foundation seeking a ban on junk food in Capital’s schools. “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.”, he said.
Appearing for the centre additional solicitor general Rajeeve Mehra said private firm AC Nielsen QRG-MARG Pvt Ltd is in the process of framing norms in this regard after an all India survey He said that after draft guidelines are prepared, the food processing companies will be consulted for their opinion and then the final guidelines will be prepared.
“There are several reported incidents of food poisoning in the schools due to unhygienic food served in schools.
There is an increase in the quantity and variety of junk foods sold within the school premises that may have deleterious effect on child health both in short and long term. Incidents may be many more but they go unreported due to interior location and poor communication”, the health ministry told the court.