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High Court unhappy over government's decision to reopen school, colleges from July 1
On Wednesday, the High Court Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Bollam Vijaysen Reddy expressed its dissatisfaction on the decision of the Telangana government on issuing a GO No 121 dated 19-6-2021, reopening of the schools and colleges conducting physical classes from July 1, 2021.
Hyderabad: On Wednesday, the High Court Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Bollam Vijaysen Reddy expressed its dissatisfaction on the decision of the Telangana government on issuing a GO No 121 dated 19-6-2021, reopening of the schools and colleges conducting physical classes from July 1, 2021.
The Bench while dealing with the Batch of Public Interest Litigations on Covid-19, also dealt with an Interim Application filed to quash GO. 121 on the ground that the State is not yet prepared to tackle third wave of coronavirus in the State and as per the opinion of the experts and scientists, third wave will prove fatal for children. Ravichander, Senior Counsel appearing for the petitioner in one of the PIL, sought a direction to quash the GO stating that there is no information from the Telangana government, as to what steps it has put in place, if third wave of coronavirus barges into the State. Keeping in view the seriousness of its effect and further, the experts' opinion that it will have serious effect on children, how can the government take such a decision, without putting its house in order. He further pointed out that though the Website of the State government, the medical and health department shows that only 24 beds are allocated to Niloufer hospital, the State, contrary to its figures, informs the court that 2,000 beds have been allocated to the hospital.
Chief Justice Hima Kohli Bench summoned for Secretary, Education Department Sandeep Kumar Sultania, IAS, and asked, "You give us a guarantee that no child will be affected with coronavirus if they attend classes physically after schools and colleges are reopened. Without strengthening or ramping up infrastructure etc., in schools and colleges, how can the State government take such a decision and issue a notification to this effect without doing any ground work and it is a fact that the children, despite telling them to adhere to the Covid-19 norms, they will not maintain social distancing nor they will adhere to the norms".
CJ Kohli observed that permitting students of first to ninth class was not a wise decision.
Education Department Secretary Sandeep Kumar Sultania assured the Court that there is no compulsion on the parents to send their wards to the schools physically from July 1, 2021 and further this is not a final decision as deliberations are still on in the government on this issue. The Statement of the Secretary, Education was recorded by the Chief Justice Bench observing that it is a premature decision and issued notices to the Telangana government directing it to file its response.
Dr G Srinivas Rao, Director, Public Health and Family Welfare Telangana government, is directed to file a detailed cogent and cohesive reply affidavit throwing light on the preparedness of the TS government to tackle the Delta+ variant which is expected to have a more serious effect on the people and the fact that it has already intruded into many states. The Telangana government is directed to demonstrate its preparedness on this issue. The case is adjourned to July 8, 2021.