Directs govt not to wait for any further directions from court, proceed to examine safety of buildings
Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Friday sought response from government as to whether the schools and colleges are structurally sound and health wise safe after last month’s devastating floods.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar issued notice to Health and Medical Education Department, Education Department and Srinagar Municipal Corporation, asking them to file response by next date of hearing in the matter.
The directions were issued by the bench by initiating Public Interest Litigation on an open appeal made by some parents. The parents had supported the appeal with a news report published in a local daily, highlighting that private as well as public schools have thrown open their institutions for the children and have asked pupils themselves to undertake the cleanliness measures.
Such a venture, the court observed, would be extremely risky for the school going children on account of their low immunity.
“To our mind the controversy raises two significant questions as to whether the school or college buildings belonging to government and private managements, which have been thrown open for the children from class LKG to 10+2 and higher classes, are structurally sound.
“In other words, is there any certification to the effect that there is no apprehension of their collapsing which may result in loss of life?”
The second question, court said, whether the school or college buildings have been cleaned and disinfected by the authorities to ensure there is no health hazard particularly for the children and students who have low immunity.
“The respondents shall before the next date of hearing with list of all schools and colleges which have been thrown open and answer as to whether any certificates in respect of the two questions have been issued to them.”
They, the bench said, do not need to wait for any further directions from the court and shall proceed to undertake the exercise of examining the buildings for their safety in the light of the observations made by it.
In this regard, the bench asked the departments to issue certificates about structural soundness of the schools and the colleges.
“They shall also undertake the exercise and certify that the schools/college buildings are hygienically conducive for the students to use. The certificate in respect of both the questions may be issued and placed on the record of this court before the adjourned date,” the bench said. “We make it clear that these directions would apply to government as well as to private schools and colleges.”
If the children have been asked to undertake the process of cleanliness, court said, they should be stopped forthwith.
“Report in that regard be filed before the adjourned date,” the bench said, and posted the matter for further consideration on October 28.
The bench also requested advocate G. A. Lone, to act as Amicus Curiae (court friend) in the case to assist it in further proceedings.
Advocate J. A. Kawoosa, senior Additional Advocate General, accepted notice on behalf of Health and Medical Education Department while S. A. Naik, senior Additional Advocate General, accepted notice on behalf of Education Department. Notice to SMC, the bench said, be also served by the High Court registry.