Mumbai: The Bombay on Friday asked the Transport Commissioner to consider launching a mass campaign appealing citizens not to send their children to schools in over-crowded vehicles like autorickshaws. The HC has also directed the Commissioner to conduct surprise inspections on school buses ferrying children to school, to ascertain if they are complying with the rules.
A division bench of Justice Naresh Patil and Justice Nitin Sambre also said it is the duty of the parents too, apart from the school authorities, to ensure the life of their children is not endangered in overcrowded vehicles. Justice Patil said, “A single autorickshaw carrying nearly six to seven children has become a common sight in the city. We believe it is not only the schools but also the parents’ duty to ensure the life of their children is not endangered.”
“The parents must avoid sending their children in overcrowded vehicles. Even schools must disallow such a practice. We are of the opinion the school authorities must educate parents and ask them not to risk the lives of their children. There must be a coordinated approach,” Justice Patil observed.
The judges suggested the government authorities launch a mass campaign making parents aware of the risk of rickshaws and other overcrowded vehicles ferrying children. “We think the Transport Commissioner can launch a mass campaign appealing the citizens not to send their children in overcrowded vehicles. Apart from the Commissioner, even the NGOs working in this light can help in spreading the message,” Justice Patil said.
“We think, the Commissioner can direct his officers to conduct surprise inspections of vehicles ferrying children and ascertain if they are adhering to the norms. Also, the authority can consider focusing on atleast 10 schools in an area, as a pilot project. We believe, if the rules in this regard, which are exhaustive, are implemented in letter and spirit then the 60 per cent of the entire problem would resolve,” Justice Patil said.