State told to form committee on school safety norms

State told to form committee on school safety norms

Protection of children not the responsibility of police alone: HC

State told to form committee on school safety norms

The High Court on Thursday directed the State government to constitute a committee headed by an officer not below the rank of Additional Chief Secretary, with representatives from all the departments concerned, to monitor the implementation of school safety guidelines. 

Justice A N Venugopala Gowda directed the government to submit the names of the committee members by the next date of hearing. The matter was advanced on Thursday in view of the latest incident of alleged sexual abuse on a girl at Orchids The International School at Jalahalli in the city.

“It is clear that there is no serious effort by all the departments in implementation of safety guidelines concerning children. This is not the responsibility of the police department alone, but there is a need for other departments to extend co-operation. Everyone appears to be standalone when it comes to implementation of safety measures. The committee shall also devise safety guidelines for the future.

Until that time, the guidelines issued by the police (in Bangalore) will have to be complied with,” the bench said. Justice Venugopala Gowda said that the guidelines will also have to be implemented in other commissionerates in the state such as Mangalore, Hubli-Dharwad, Mysore and Belgaum.

The bench came down heavily on government schools and BBMP schools for not implementing the guidelines issued by the police department. He said a budget of Rs 13 crore should not be a problem for the government to ensure safety of children. 

“You have schemes like Ksheera Bhagya and Anna Bhagya for children. Providing food is not sufficient. Safety of the children is equally important. I have gone through the previous government’s budget, wherein lot of funds were released to various institutions,” he said. 

The court directed the counsel appearing for the BBMP to impress upon the corporation to hold meetings in this regard, of officials who have decision-making powers. 

It asked the government to stop funding aided institutions if they fail to implement the guidelines. The matter has been posted for hearing to November 7. The bench said a comprehensive order on guidelines will be pronounced after the committee is formed.