CHENNAI: Madras High Court has granted two more months to the School Education Secretary to inspect the Corporation Schools in the City and to file a report on their working conditions.
If the report is not filed three days before the next hearing, i.e. September 2, the Secretary should appear in court, the first bench of Chief Justice SK Kaul and Justice R Mahadevan said on Friday.
The bench was passing further interim orders on a PIL from V Karthikeyan, secretary of Chennai Wing of the Revolutionary Student Youth Front, praying for a direction to the government to implement a GO dated December 22, 2012, which stipulated providing basic facilities in government, government aided and private schools in the city and to appoint a perennial committee consisting of technical experts, educationists and representatives of parents and students, to monitor the implementation of the GO and to grant compenstion to two students -- Akash and Suryakala of Manali Sadayankuppan Corporation Middle School -- injured in a roof collapse on January 10, 2014.
When the matter came up, the bench was informed that D Rajendran, Joint Director of School Education, appointed by the court as chairman of the committee, had retired at the end of March this year.
The bench remarked that undisputedly, there is non-compliance of its earlier order, as no compliance report has been filed. The excuse sought to be made is that Rajendran had retired.
"The excuse is completely specious in character because Rajendran was appointed by name to preside over the committee, which had two other retired members. His retirement did not take away his status as the chairman of the committee and the only difference would have been that on his retirement, he would also have been entitled to the honorarium of Rs. 2,000 per sitting, like the other members," the bench said.
It was at this stage, counsel for the Education Secretary assured that the work would be completed within two months. "If the report is not filed at least three days prior to the next date of hearing on September 2, the Secretary will have to remain personally present in court'', the judges said.
According to petitioner, there were 313 schools run by the Chennai Corporation and more than 1.17 lakh students were studying in them. At the request of the Director of School Education, the State government issued the 2012 GO for providing basic facilities in the government, government aided and private schools, such as buildings, drinking water, toilet, electricity, benches, first aid, vehicles and so on. But it was not implemented in an effective manner. Many schools in the city still lacked the infrastructure facilities. The existing infrastructure also lacked quality, which results in accidents, petitioner had contended.