bombay high court

Bombay High Court: While citing a news report published by Times of India in Sunday Times, Aurangabad Edition dated 27-08-2023 depicting the plight of several students titled as “Kids row thermocol rafts with makeshift oars to cross Jayakwadi backwaters, attend school”, the Division Bench of Ravindra V. Ghuge and Y. G. Khobragade, JJ. took suo motu cognizance of the same.

As explained by the Bench, the said news report mentioned a girl, barely 11-years old, makes a daring journey, every day, across the backwaters of Jaikwadi, one of Maharashtra’s largest dams, to reach her school. Not only that girl but there were 15 children from a village in Aurangabad district, who sit on a thick thermocol sheet, use makeshift oars to cross a kilometre long stretch of the dam to go to school. As reported, the girl told that “we carry bamboo sticks or makeshift oars to fend off water snakes that climb on the thermocol sheet as we navigate our way”, while her father said that “I do not want my children to remain illiterate like me. So, my daughter and son travel on the thermocol sheet to go to school. It becomes daunting due to the presence of venomous snakes in the water.” The news report further indicated that the situation remained the same for 47 years after the dam was constructed.

The Court converted the said news report to a suo motu Public Interest Litigation and appointed amicus curiae to prepare a PIL petition and present the same before the Court on 4-09-2023. The Court also gave him liberty to contact the reporter who reported the said news.

[Suo Motu Public Interest Litigation, 2023 SCC OnLine Bom 1897, dated 28-08-2023]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Amicus Curiae Advocate Pushkar Shendurnikar

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