The state government will soon depute two officials to visit at least five Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) schools in each administrative ward in the city, without any prior intimation to the schools, to see whether toilets there are properly maintained and if there are drinking water facilities in these schools. The Bombay High Court gave the directive to the state government on Tuesday.
“We direct the education department of the state government and the urban department to nominate two officials to visit 1292 schools of various wards. These officials nominated by the state government shall conduct surprise inspections of five schools in each ward to ascertain if toilets are maintained properly and drinking water is available,” said Justices A S Oka and A S Gadkari.
The court has stated that a compliance report should be filed by the state government on directions issued by the apex court to various states relating to Right to Education Act. “The affidavits of officials deputed by the state government should also be filed by December 18. The next date of hearing has been kept on December 19,” the court said.
The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Bhagvanji Raiyani referring to the issue of toilet facilities in girls’ and boys’ schools under the jurisdiction of the municipal corporation . “In the last affidavit filed by BMC, the officer concerned has noted that the facilities of toilets and water is there but have not stated if the BMC officer went to these schools,” the court observed. The lawyer appearing for BMC, however, maintained that BMC officials had,in fact visited these schools. Noting this the court observed that the matter of toilets being made available is not disputed but the matter of whether they are being kept clean will need to be verified.
As per an earlier order, the affidavit in reply filed by MCGM dated 1 July 2013 stated “These respondents have looked into the issue in respect of toilets and water facilities in the schools of MCGM including the private aided, private unaided, Railway and social welfare in the jurisdiction of MCGM. I say that toilets and water facilities are available for boys and girls as per guidelines applicable and as per the type of the school (co-education, boys and girls). These toilets and water rooms are regularly cleaned by the concerned staff.”