The Delhi High Court has directed that all schools in the city be regularly inspected for structural safety, while disposing of a PIL filed following the deaths of two young students on school premises in January this year.
“The Directorate of Education is directed to constitute a Special Task Force, zone-wise, who will visit the schools under their respective zones on a monthly basis and submit their reports before the Directorate of Education, Caretaking Branch, GNCTD. Executive Engineers of the Municipal Corporations shall also visit the schools under their area of control on a monthly basis and in case any defects in relation to their field are found, shall immediately take steps to ensure that the defects are rectified,” said the bench of Chief justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal, in its judgment on Thursday.
Five-year-old Ankit had died after falling into an open septic tank in a primary municipal school in Kapashera area of south Delhi on January 27 this year. Three days later, Divyansh Kakrora, a six-year-old Class I student of Ryan International School in Vasant Kunj in south Delhi was killed after falling into a tank in his school.
A PIL had been filed by BIjwasan MLA Devender Sehrawat, seeking fixing of responsibility on the erring officials and school management, as well as compensation for the families of the children.
The court, in its judgment, has taken note of the orders issued by the DoE after the two incidents, which include structural safety inspections of all schools, as well as criminal prosecution of the Principals and other responsible persons of the two schools concerned.
The DoE and SDMC had informed the court that circulars had already been issued to various school authorities to ensure safety of students and they were given a check list for ensuring safety/security of the children in all aspects. Further, a notification had been issued by the DoE proposing to engage an Estate Manager for each government school, who will be caretaker of the school building and ensure safety of students.
Taking note of these submissions, the bench directed “all concerned officials should ensure strict compliance of the directions that have already been issued.”
Further, the bench directed that”All schools in Delhi including MCD, NDMC, government schools, private schools, government aided schools shall carry out periodical inspection of school buildings and premises and submit a quarterly report to the office of DoE, caretaking branch, GNCTD”.