Warrant against Principals, Directors of 105 schools

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 09 Nov 2017 09:52:26


Staff Reporter,

Taking a very serious cognisance of the failure of school principals and directors towards safety of school bus and their failure to file even basic reply, the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court on Wednesday issued bailable warrant against Principals and Directors of 105 schools in Nagpur city. Now, each one of them has to secure bail by furnishing a PR bond of Rs 25,000. The next hearing is slated after two weeks.

A division bench consisting of Justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Justice Swapna Joshi, while hearing a suo motu petition following the tragic death of 8-year old Virath Zade, son of Congress worker Nayana Zade, who died under the school bus six years ago, pulled up the schools for not even responding to good suggestions mooted by transport authorities to ensure safety of children using school bus.

During last hearing, the High Court had expressed deep concern over apathy shown by 126 schools in Nagpur towards safety of school children travelling by school bus, and had imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 each for their failure to file even a reply. These schools were directed to file affidavit within three weeks along with Rs 5,000 fine. In case the reply is not filed, the school principal or president of the society running such institution will have to face the music, the High Court had warned.

However, despite such a strong warning, only 33 schools filed the reply before the High Court, forcing it to issue bailable warrant against Principals and Directors of emaining 105 schools. Many schools candidly admitted that second fitness test of buses deployed to transport their students was not conducted and promised to do so in time bound manner. About police verification of the staff employed by the bus operator, the Amicus Curiae, Firdos Mirza also pointed out that following recent disturbing incidents, the schools must ensure proper verification of the staff deployed to run buses.

Following tragic death of Virath Zade, the State Transport department had convened meeting of all bus operators and other modes of transport and prescribed a set of stringent guidelines.

Amicus Curiae Firdos Mirza had also suggested that school buses should have special sitting arrangement looking at the tender age of kids using it, minimum educational qualifications and proper training for drivers and conductors, fixed spot for students to enter and get down from such buses and periodic check-up of such buses. High Court had also made it mandatory to form School Transport Committee in each School to be headed by Traffic Inspector and District level Monitoring Committee to be headed by RTO. But these directions were followed mostly in breach.

Thereafter, the High Court had issued notice to 138 schools in which students are using school bus facility and directed them to file reply so as to inform about compliance with earlier guidelines issued by High Court and State Transport Department. During summer, out of 25,369 registered school buses, only 13,440 buses were subjected to fitness test while remaining 12,800 buses were plying without mandatory fitness test, the Amicus Curiae pointed out while wondering as to why action was not being taken against them.