Identify unsafe govt school buildings: HC
Government told to submit a report containing list of unsafe school buildings in the court on May 8
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 22
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the state of Punjab to identify all unsafe government schools in the state and produce a status report on May 8, the next date of hearing.
The directions came during the hearing of a PIL filed by advocate HC Arora. He was seeking directions to the Punjab Education Department to shift students from five government primary schools in Ludhiana district whose buildings had been declared "unsafe" by the PWD.
As the case came up for resumed hearing, the Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Jasbir Singh and Justice RK Jain directed the Punjab Government to produce a status report containing a complete list of schools declared "unsafe" all over the state.
Referring to five unsafe school buildings, the Punjab Government, in an affidavit filed by Ludhiana DEO (Elementary) Ranjit Singh, stated that unsafe buildings had either been repaired or unsafe rooms had been locked. He added orders were being issued separately for dismantling unsafe rooms and there was no need now to shift the students.
Arora had earlier contended that the schools had been declared "unsafe" by the PWD as per a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India on Ludhiana district. Directions were also sought to the state government to carry out an inspection of all government primary schools in the state for identifying unsafe buildings.
‘Can't name schools after donors’
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today restrained the Punjab Government from implementing its recent policy on naming its government schools and other public institutions after donors or at their behest.
The directions by Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Jasbir Singh and Justice RK Jain came during the hearing of a PIL filed by Iqbal Singh through counsel HC Arora. He was seeking directions to the Punjab Government to fill around 500 vacant posts of senior secondary school principals.
As the case came up for resumed hearing, the Bench took suo motu cognisance of newspaper reports on Punjab Government policy under which government schools or other public institutions shall be named as per choice of persons donating a prescribed amount.
Taking a serious view of the policy, the Bench observed the policy violated Article 14 of the Constitution of India. The well-established salutary practice in the country was to name public institutions after persons sacrificing their lives for the freedom or undertaking great social service.
The policy, on the other hand, aimed at naming public institutions as per choice of persons who could afford to give specified amounts irrespective of the source from which it was donated.
The Bench restrained the Punjab Government from enforcing the policy and directed that public institutions shall not be named after any person even if he has already deposited the prescribed amount. No amounts shall be accepted for the purpose henceforth, the Bench added, while fixing April 30 as the next date of hearing.
In the PIL, the petitioner has sought issuance of appropriate directions to the state government to find out ways to fill the vacant posts of principals of senior secondary schools by amending or relaxing the existing rules so that these schools get principals.
The petitioner stated that principals of some institutes were given the charge of four to five senior secondary schools. As a result, the administration of the schools concerned was unsatisfactory.
The directions came during the hearing of a public interest litigation
It sought directions to the Education Department to shift students from five government primary schools in Ludhiana district whose buildings had been declared unsafe by the PWD
The government stated that unsafe buildings had either been repaired or unsafe rooms had been locked
It also said orders were being issued separately for dismantling unsafe rooms and there was no need to shift the students