Obey guidelines or face criminal action, HC warns schools

If you can't implement them, we will appoint judicial officers, court tells police

Obey guidelines or face criminal action, HC warns schools

The High Court on Wednesday warned of criminal action against educational institutions that do not comply with the guidelines issued by the commissioner of Bangalore police on safety of schoolchildren. 

Justice A N Venugopal Gowda directed the State government and the police commissioner to set up a special cell headed by an officer of the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) for the said purpose. The bench also directed the City police to set up the cell to enable the institutions to clarify and address all their concerns related to safety of schoolchildren. 

During the hearing, the bench also asked why the police commissioner had failed to conduct meetings with school managements to redress their grievance that they were unable to implement the safety guidelines. The police should not just issue circulars to schools and keep quiet, but ensure that all schools implemented the guidelines, the bench observed. 

The bench even warned that if the police failed to inspect all schools to check if the guidelines were complied with, the court might have to direct the judicial officers to take over the powers of the police to investigate the schools. The court directed the police to submit a report  at the next hearing on September 16 after inspecting the schools. 

Hearing a batch of petitions filed by the Karnataka State Private School Joint Action Committee and 13 others, the bench observed that for some unknown reasons, crimes against women and children in Karnataka had increased and when police gave certain safety guidelines, that was also questioned. 

One of the institutions has moved the court, claiming that it would bear huge financial burden to instal the Global Positioning System (GPS) and have additional female staff in school buses besides installing CCTV cameras on its campus as directed by the police. 

But the bench asserted that all schools were bound to comply with the guidelines by September 15, and directed the City police to submit a report the next day.

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