HC questions Govt on safety of flood-hit schools, colleges

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court Friday questioned the government whether the flood-hit schools and colleges thrown open recently are structurally and hygienically sound for the students.  The Court issued a notice to the government seeking its response by the next date of hearing on October 28.

Taking suo-moto cognizance of a report published in this newspaper under the heading ‘Flood hit schools time bomb of infections’, a division bench of Chief Justice M M Kumar and justiceMuzaffarHussain Attar considered the same as a Public Interest Litigation.
The bench sought to know whether school or college buildings belonging to government and private managements—which have been thrown open for children from class LKG to 10+2 and higher classes post floods— are structurally sound and if there is any certification to the effect that there is no apprehension of their collapsing and causing loss of life.
The bench also questioned whether the school or college buildings have been cleaned and disinfected by the authorities to ensure that there is no health hazard particularly for the children and students who have low immunity.
Seeking list of all schools and colleges thrown open by October 28, the bench said the concerned authorities need not to wait for any further directions from this Court and shall proceed to undertake the exercise of examining the buildings for their safety in the light of observations made in today’s order and issue certificates about their structural soundness.
Making it clear that its directions would apply to government as well private schools and colleges, the court directed the government to undertake the exercise and certify that the schools/College buildings are hygienically conducive for use by students.
“The certificate in respect of both the questions may be issued and placed on record of this Court before the adjourned date of October 28,” the bench said, observing that if the children have been asked to undertake the process of cleanliness, as reported, they should be stopped forthwith and a report in that regard be filed.
The news report ‘’Flood Hit Schools Time Bomb of Infections’ (GK City Page, Oct 16) highlighted that private as well as public schools have been thrown open for children while children themselves have been asked to undertake the cleanliness.
While senior Additional Advocate General JavedKawoosa accepted the notice on behalf of Health and Medical Education department and Additional Advocate General ShabirNaik accepted it on behalf of the Education department, the court asked Advocate G A Lone to assist the court as Amicus Curie in the case. The court asked its registry to serve notice to Municipal Corporation Srinagar also.

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