The Supreme Court has asked the Ministry of Human Resource Development to implement new norms on Child Safety in Schools, to be formulated within a period of 3 months.
The Centre has been asked by the Supreme Court to develop a framework of safety guidelines for all schools within three months, on demands of lawyers and the father of Pradyuman Thakur, a deceased seven-year-old boy who was killed at his school in Gurugram. The apex court has commanded the government to cover both public and private schools at the time of taking the decision. A bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and R.F. Nariman said that the court was not an expert on framing of policies for schools and it would be appropriate if the government looks into the matter raised by several petitioners. “We direct Ministry of Human Resource Development, MHRD to look into the prayers in the Public Interest Litigations, 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, as reported by PTI.
Earlier, the court had sought compilation of regulations devised by the Centre and states for its consideration. It had asked all the states and union territories to submit their responses on the PILs filed by the father of the deceased child, some lawyers and organisations. Three states – Haryana, Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh, had filed their responses on the case. The plea filed by two women lawyers, Abha R Sharma and Sangeeta Bharti, sought framing of “non-negotiable” child safety conditions and implementation of existing guidelines to protect school-going children from offences like sexual abuse and murder across the country. The petition had also asked for the cancellation of licences and confiscation of state grants of the defaulting schools.
Another PIL, filed by lawyer Sujeeta Srivastava, raised the issue of children “being exploited and subjected to child abuse repeatedly within the boundaries of the schools” and demanded that central and state governments notify a set of “non-negotiable” child safety conditions for schools. Besides the Human Resources Ministry, the plea has requested 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. In regard to the guidelines, it said every school is required to have a “Child Protection Policy which should be understood, explained and signed by all employees”. All new employees must go through a one-day orientation process on issues related to child protection under a month of their joining, the plea recommended with reference to the guidelines. Each school must have Child Abuse Monitoring Committee with two students as representatives and a thorough police verification would be necessary before recruiting a person in a school, it said.