SC gives six months to states to improve school facilities

The Supreme Court has asked state governments to provide educational, sanitation and drinking water infrastructure in the schools including separate toilet facilities for boys and girls, drinking water facilities, sufficient class rooms and the appointment of teaching and no-teaching staff within six months.

There are 1,096,064 government schools. Out of these, 624,074 schools have girl toilets and 824,605 schools have common toilets for boys and girls.

An apex court bench of Justice KS Radhakrishanan and Justice Dipak Misra on Wednesday asked the state governments to give effect to various directions already given by it for “providing toilet facilities for boys and girls, drinking water facilities, sufficient class rooms, appointment of teaching and non-teaching staff etc, if not already provided, within six months from today”.

The direction by SC was given after an NGO moved the apex court seeking improvements in the conditions of schools in the country.
Justice Radhakrishnan said: “We make it clear that these directions are applicable to all the schools, whether state-owned or private, aided or unaided, minority or non-minority.”

Disposing of a petition moved by NGO Environment and Consumer Protection Foundation, the court said: “We make it clear that if the directions are not fully implemented, it is open to the aggrieved parties to move this court for appropriate orders.”

The NGO moved the apex court seeking directions to improve the conditions in schools.

Referring to its April 12 verdict, upholding the constitutional validity of the right to education law providing for free and compulsory education to students up to the age of 14 years, the court said that it gave some directions so that the mandate of the law could be carried out.

The court in its April judgment highlighted the necessity of constituting a regulatory authority for effective functioning of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act.

The judgment said that on the basis of the directions issued by the apex court in the instant matter some States submitted the details of the infrastructure facilities in the schools in their respective states.

“This court noticed that some of the schools have not provided proper toilet facilities for boys and girls and, in some of the schools, it was noticed that there is no provision for drinking water as well,” the judgment said.

Under the the “Total Sanitation Campaign” a school sanitation hygiene education programme is operational in 607 districts spread across 30 states and union territories and a total of 1,199,117 school toilets have been financially assisted under the TSC.


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