School buses: 1 authority should ensure safety, High Court tells UT

Coming down heavily on the UT Administration for not doing much to ensure the safety of government school children boarding CTU buses, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday directed the Secretary, Education to convene a meeting of Director, Public Instructions (Schools), State Transport Authority (STA), police and schools to ensure that only one authority shall be conferred with power for the implementation of safety/ security related parameters.

Directions came from Justice Rajive Bhalla after he stated that certain media reports had projected that there was a great degree of confusion going on among authorities about who is to ensure the implementation of security-related norms.

"The UT Administration is only heritage-conscious and it is not worried about the students who are our future heritage," added Justice Bhalla.

During the resumed hearing of the case related to school buses, the counsel for the UT Administration apprised the bench that the Administration had already started morning CTU bus services for government schools students.

Considering the fact, Justice Bhalla said that though authorities are providing bus service at subsidised rates, the Administration should look into the issue that children should board buses from safe places, perhaps inside the schools, and in case this is not possible, separate areas could be demarcated on the side of the schools for the buses.

If children are crossing roads, it means their safety is being jeopardised. Government schools always have more space than private schools so there can be possibility of making bus stops inside the school, opined Justice Bhalla.

When the High Court asked the Administration why afternoon services should also not be started, the counsel replied that at present the CTU has few buses, but that it has mooted a plan to purchase 100 more buses, and that then afternoon services can be started.

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