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The Supreme Court today agreed to hear a plea of two women lawyers seeking framing of "non- negotiable" child safety conditions and implementation of existing guidelines to protect school-going children from offences like sexual abuse and murder across the country.
The plea which also sought cancellation of licences and forfeiture of state grants of erring schools will be heard by the court along with the petition filed yesterday by the father of seven-year-old Pradyuman, who was killed allegedly by a bus conductor at Gurgaon's Ryan International School.
He had sought a CBI probe into the killing of his son and framing of guidelines to ensure safety of children.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Amitava Roy and A M Khanwilkar today considered the PIL, filed by lawyers Abha R Sharma and Sangeeta Bharti, and said that it has already issued notice on the similar plea of the father of the child.
"We will tag it (writ petition) with the earlier one," the bench said and fixed the PIL for hearing on September 15.
The fresh PIL, filed through lawyer Sujeeta Srivastava, raised the issue of children "being exploited and subjected to child abuse repeatedly within the boundaries of the schools" and demanded that central and state governments notify a set of "non-negotiable" child safety conditions for schools.
Besides Union Human Resources Ministry, the plea has made all state governments and Union territories (UTs) as parties and has sought proper implementation of existing guidelines of authorities including the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) on prevention of child abuse in schools.
Referring to the guidelines, it said every school is required to have a "child protection policy which should be understood, explained and signed by all employees or recruits".
All new employees must go through a one-day orientation programme on issues related to child protection within one month of their joining, the plea said referring to the guidelines.
The guidelines said that each school must have child abuse monitoring committee with two student as representatives and a through police verification was needed before employing a person in a school, it said.
They also mandated that selected persons will have to furnish a signed affidavit that they have not been either accused or have been convicted in an offence, the plea said.
The PIL also referred to the National Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Policy of 2013 and the Model Education Code prepared by National University for Educational Planning and Administration in 2015 and demanded that they be implemented.
The women lawyers also suggested some guidelines including that there should be "no liquor vendors, hawkers, stalls selling tobacco and other such tobacco based product that is panmasala, cigarettes, gutkas" within one kilometre radius of the premises of the schools.
If a person employed with the schools was found guilty of any other criminal offence, he or she should be immediately terminated, it said.
The plea has also suggested formulation of guidelines requiring the maintenance of records of entry and exit of all persons, staff and parents.
A female attendant has to be employed outside the washrooms, toilet and changing rooms in all schools for pre- nursery to primary sections, it said.
"The children travelling by school bus should be the responsibility of the school from the time they board the school bus till they are handed over to their parents," it said.
"The cancellation of licences and forfeiture of government grants of all those schools who fail to comply with any or all of the policies/guidelines issued by the authorities/government from time to time," the plea suggested.
The plea has been filed as the country grapples with the issue of children's safety in schools after the death of Class 2 student Pradyuman at the high-profile Ryan International School in Gurgaon.
He was found with his throat slit on the morning of September 8 in the school toilet. Police allege that 42-year- old bus conductor Ashok Kumar killed him with a knife after the boy resisted an attempt to sodomise him.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)