Delhi High Court: The Division Bench of Satish Chandra Sharma, C.J., and Tushar Rao Gedela, J., issued certain directions in relation to guidelines/procedures to be adopted by the Child Safety Monitoring Committee (‘the Committee’) during its inspections in relation to minimum standards of school safety.
In the present case, pursuant to an order of this Court dated 27-09-2023, the Committee was constituted to monitor the implementation of the Circular dated 07-11-2017 issued by Government of Delhi whereunder, minimum standards of school safety were prescribed. The Chairperson of the Committee i.e., R.M. Sharma, preferred the present application seeking approval of guidelines/procedures to be adopted by the Committee in the discharge of its duty.
The Court issued the following directions in relation to guidelines/procedures to be adopted by the Committee during its inspections:
No member would be allowed to inspect the schools independently and the Committee as a whole headed by the Chairperson would inspect the schools. However, in exceptional circumstances, the Chairperson might permit any member of the Committee to inspect the schools independently, who shall report to the Chairperson the finding of such inspection in writing and the said report shall only be accepted if the same was approved by the Chairperson.
The proceedings of the inspection would be conducted by the Chairperson and the members of the committee might make suggestions to the Chairperson directly in writing which would be duly considered by the Chairperson, however the decision of the Chairperson shall be final and binding on the Committee.
The members would not interact with the head of the school (‘HOS’) or the manager of the school or any authority of the school directly.
Inspection of the classrooms, toilets, and other analogous areas of the school might be inspected by the Chairperson for the children’s safety which shall be photographed to make the inspection process fully transparent.
The police verification of the guards and the staff shall be supplied by the management/HOS of the school, especially, those guards who were deputed outside the toilet of the female children to the Chairperson.
The police verification of the driver of the school buses shall be produced by the management/HOS at the time of the inspection. However, if the police verification of the bus drivers was not conducted or produced by the school management/HOS, the Chairperson might direct the school management/HOS to suspend those bus drivers of the school buses till the time their police verification was conducted keeping in view the safety of the children. The management/HOS shall also ensure that breath analyzers tests of the bus drivers were conducted regularly before boarding the buses by the bus drivers.
The inspection of the school would be made during school time, when the school was functional i.e., between 7:00 am to 2:00 pm and the members shall not leave the school premises without completing the inspection.
For any meeting, the agenda of the meeting shall be framed and raised by the Chairperson and the meeting would be convened and presided over by the Chairperson.
The matter would next be listed on 18-04-2024.
[Court on its own Motion v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2023 SCC OnLine Del 7258, Order dated 03-11-2023]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
For the Petitioner: Hemant Sharma, Advocate
For the Respondent: Santosh Kumar Tripathi, Standing Counsel (Civil); Arun Panwar, Pradyumn Rao, Utkarsh Singh, Kartik Sharma, Prashana Sharma, Rishabh Srivastava, Advocates