The Bombay High Court on Monday said it was as much the responsibility of parents to ensure that their children travelled to school safely in buses, as that of the school authorities.
The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by the PTA United Forum, which stated that safety of children had been jeopardised because the state departments concerned were not insisting on the common standard agreement between the operator and the school. “Parents should also take care of how their child is going to school,” said the court.
Justice Naresh Patil said: “The children must be travelling from that age to survive in a city like Mumbai by running to catch a bus or train with everyone.” He said the only way to ensure that buses used to ply children from school comply with specifications was routine checks by the transport department. “There must be cases where no buses are available so, children have to travel by other means, like autorickshaws,” said the court.
The court also sought to know if data was available on the number of bus accidents that have taken place. It asked the state to ensure that a toll-free number was in place for parents to make complaints in cases of violations. Adjourning the case for two weeks, the bench emphasised that the important thing was to ensure safety of the children auto rickshaws to school.