Covid-19: Order on gadgets, internet for poor pupils stayed

New Delhi

The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed the Delhi High Court verdict directing private unaided schools, along with Kendriya Vidyalayas, to provide gadgets and internet packages to students from economically weaker section for online classes amid the pandemic.

A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde and comprising Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian sa­id: "Issue notice. In the meantime, there shall be stay of operation of the impugned order of the High Court."

The Delhi government had moved SC challenging the HC’s September 18 2020 order, delivered on the petition of NGO Justice for All.

Senior advocate Vikas Singh, representing the Delhi government, submitted that the High Court verdict has imposed an additional burden on the government.

"We are already spending a lot on the education front," he argued. The bench, obser­ving the top court had earlier delivered a verdict on a similar issue in a case arising out of Himachal Pradesh, asked Singh to bring on record that verdict too.

The High Court had said the tuition fee does not include the cost of gadgets and internet package, and this should be provided free of cost to these students by the schools. Later, the private unaided schools could claim reimbursement from the state in accordance with provision of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.

Justice for All moved HC seeking directions to the Centre and the Delhi government to provide free laptops, tablets or mobile phones to students from economically weaker backgro­und to access online classes.

Meghalaya health workers reluctant to take jabs

Health workers in Meghalaya are “reluctant” to take Covid-19 vaccine shots, with only 27 per cent of the over 33,000 beneficiaries having turned up for inoculation thus far, a senior official said on Wednesday. The northeastern state has received 35,000 Covishield doses for the first phase of the vaccination process, Health Services Director Aman War said.

“Only 9,017 of the 33,185 COVID-19 beneficiaries in the state have taken the shots, and none has reported any adverse effect following immunisation (AEFI),” he said.

Virus Tidbits

--Plea seeking formulation of national mortal remains management, disposal protocol junked

-- No mandatory Covid-19 tests at railway stations, airports in Assam from Mar 1

-- UP schools reopen for classes 6 to 8 with protocols in place

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