PLEA ON HEAVY SCHOOL BAGS: HC seeks policy decision report within 6 weeks

The bench however put the petitioner at liberty to move the court again for revival of the contempt petition in case the government failed to take a decision within the given period.

D A RASHID
Srinagar, Publish Date: Feb 16 2019 10:00PM | Updated Date: Feb 16 2019 10:00PM
PLEA ON HEAVY SCHOOL BAGS: HC seeks policy decision report within 6 weeksFile Photo

The High Court has directed Jammu and Kashmir government to take a final call on its policy related to easing burden of heavy school bags from tender shoulders of school-going children.       

While disposing of a contempt petition by a law student from Kashmir University, Badrual Duja, a bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Sanjeev Kumar ordered secretary school education department to take a final view in the matter   

“A status report in this regard and the decision taken shall be placed before us positively within a period of six weeks from today,” the court directed additional advocate general Shah Aamir.

The bench however put the petitioner at liberty to move the court again for revival of the contempt petition in case the government failed to take a decision within the given period.  

While disposing of a Public Interest Litigation on May 30, 2016, the court had directed commissioner/secretary education to consider representation by the petitioner within three months and take appropriate decision in the matter. 

Aggrieved over non-implementation of the court judgment, Duja, however, approached the court by filing a contempt petition which was disposed of leaving it to the wisdom of the state government to address the issue before February, 2018.

The authorities were directed to follow and study the best practices of other states before taking a call on the issue.     

For defiance of the court order, Duja again filed a contempt petition. The court now directed the government to take a final call on its policy related to easing burden of the school children.    

To relieve the children of the burden of books, the petitioner had sought directions to government to encourage e-schoolrooms, audio-visual technology and other contemporary means for teaching students.

He had submitted that “a government-appointed panel in Mumbai had revealed that children carry school bags that are too heavy for them and over 58 percent of students below 10 years are suffering from orthopaedic ailments”. 

The committee, he said, had recommended that one book should be used for three months for each subject and the textbook weight can be reduced by using paper of less weight and without hardcover.

The government had informed the court that an expert committee (vide order No. 588-Edu of 2017 dated 28.08.2017) was constituted to make recommendation with regard to the heavy load of school bags.

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