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Decide school safety guidelines in 3 months: SC tells MHRD

In an effort to provide safety to children in schools, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to decide in three months on demands for framing of safety guidelines for all schools.

The top court said the decision taken by the government should cover both public and private schools.

Saying that the court is not an expert in framing guidelines for schools, a bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and R F Nariman said that it would be appropriate if the government looks into the cause raised in various writ petitions.

“We direct Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) to look into the prayers in the PILs and consider taking a decision in three months. The decision taken shall be for both government as well as private schools,” the bench said.

Some lawyers and the father of a seven-year-old boy, who was killed in a Gurgaon school, had earlier filed PILs, seeking help to frame guidelines for school children.

Earlier, the apex court had sought safety guidelines from the Centre, states and union territories for its consideration. The top court had also asked all the states and union territories to file their responses on the PILs filed by father of the deceased child, some lawyers and organisations.

Three states — Haryana, Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh — had already filed their responses in the case.

According to reports, two women lawyers — Abha R Sharma and Sangeeta Bharti – in a plea, had sought framing of ‘non-negotiable’ child safety norms and implementation of existing guidelines to protect school-going children from offences such as sexual abuse and murder across the country.

They, in the plea, had also sought cancellation of licences and forfeiture of state grants of erring schools.

Another PIL was also filed by lawyer Sujeeta Srivastava, who raised the issue of children being exploited and demanded that central and state governments notify a set of non-negotiable child safety conditions for schools.

She had sought proper implementation of the existing guidelines of authorities including the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) on prevention of child abuse in schools.

All new employees must go through a day-long orientation programme on issues related to child protection within a month of their joining, the plea suggested while referring to the guidelines.

Manmath Nayak

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