High Court asks govt to decide on easing schoolbag burden

The High Court on Friday left it to the government to take a decision on easing the burden of school children saddled under heavy bags.
“We leave it to the wise decision of the government to address the issue before February 2018,” a division bench of Justice Ramalingam Sudhakar and Justice M K Hanjura said.
With this direction, the bench closed a contempt petition seeking action against the concerned officers for not implementing the court orders to lighten the school-going children of the bag burden.
Before issuing its orders, the bench perused the compliance report which indicated that the government has constituted an expert committee vide order number 588-Edu of 2017 dated 28-8-17 with regard to the heavy load of school bags of children.
The government, through its deputy advocate general AM Mir, informed the court that the report of the expert committee is before the concerned minister as well as secretary to the government, school education department.
It is said that the committee members have unequivocally agreed in principle that some weight needed to be reduced from the backs of school-going children.
The court was on Friday told that the authorities are comparatively studying the best practices of other states to address the issue.
A law student of Kashmir University Badrul Duja had approached the court and sought directions to the government to ease the burden of bags on the children.
While disposing of the PIL on May 30, 2016, the court had directed the commissioner secretary, education, to consider the petitioner’s representation within three months and take appropriate decision in the matter.
To relieve the children of the burden of books, the petitioner had sought directions to the government to encourage e-schoolrooms, audio-visual technology and other contemporary means for teaching students.
“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,” he said.
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.