HC summons to tribal devp secy over ashram deaths

The Bombay High Court on Friday directed the secretary of the Tribal Development department to be present in court for the next hearing on February 27 regarding the deaths of five children between September-0ctober 2007...

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | Published: February 7, 2009 1:49:31 am

Also asks CJM to visit and file report

The Bombay High Court on Friday directed the secretary of the Tribal Development department to be present in court for the next hearing on February 27 regarding the deaths of five children between September-0ctober 2007 in government-run ashram schools in Dahanu,Thane district.

The court has asked him to be present after verifying the ashrams’ affairs by visiting personally.

The court had taken suo motu cognisance of the five children’s deaths and the case of a 15-year-old student found to be pregnant in another ashram school allegedly at the behest of the superintendent who promised to marry her.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice D Y Chandrachud were hearing the suo motu petition based on a letter written by one Suresh Shinde on December 12,2007 regarding the functioning of the government-run ashram schools.

The court also directed the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) of Thane to visit the ashram schools and file a report.

Assistant government pleader Pradip Patil informed the court that enquiry has been initiated against one of the headmasters and the male and female superintendents.

Shinde in his letter to the Chief Justice had cited a news article about the death of the five children who were sick and were not provided due medical treatment and were instead handed over to their tribal parents after which they died.

The court had held that this is a serious matter and somebody must take responsibility for this.

These residential schools are set up by the state Tribal Department under the Integrated Tribal Development Project which aims to reduce infant mortality rates in the state’s six tribal districts.

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