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Do not force school kids to take part in human chain against social ills: Patna HC tells Bihar government

The Bihar government’s enthusiastic plans to organise the world’s largest human chain to spread awareness against the social evils of dowry and child marriage got a jolt on Tuesday

Published: 16th January 2018 11:54 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th January 2018 11:54 PM   |  A+A-

Patna High Court. (File Photo)

Express News Service

PATNA: The Bihar government’s enthusiastic plans to organise the world’s largest human chain to spread awareness against the social evils of dowry and child marriage got a jolt on Tuesday when Patna High Court ruled that schoolchildren should not be forced to attend the programme.

While hearing a PIL on the matter, a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice Anil Kumar Upadhyay said the government should not make it compulsory for school students to participate in the programme scheduled for January 21. The government should also take the consent of the parents or guardians of the schoolchildren before making them take part in the statewide programme, the bench said.

Bihar’s advocate general Lalit Kishire informed the court that participation would be completely voluntary for children above class 5 and that children up to class 5 would not take part in the human chain. He also said that instructions to this effect had already been issued to the education department by state chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh.

The PIL, filed by Shiv Prakash Rai, had sought direction to the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government not to hold the human chain with schoolchildren and teachers taking part in it. The PIL also said since laws to abolish social ills such as dowry and child marriage are already in place, organising a human chain is a misuse of public funds. Many children were taken ill during last year’s human chain against liquor, said the PIL.

Despite the advocate general’s assurances, the high court did not dispose of the PIL and listed it for hearing after four weeks.

On January 21, 2017, the state government had organised a statewide human chain to spread awareness against drinking alcohol. Nitish Kumar had claimed that as many as four crore people had participated in the programme and that it was the world’s largest human chain. The education department was the nodal agency for that programme as in the upcoming event.

Prohibition has been in force in Bihar since April 2016.

 

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