HC raps TN educational authorities; orders school's closure

By Praveen Kumar S Published on Jul 19, 2018 05:09 PM IST

Chennai: Pulling up education authorities over the appalling conditions at a private school here where toilets lacked doors and roofs, the Madras High Court today ordered its closure and directed that all the students be shifted to nearby schools.

Passing interim orders, Justice S Vaidayanathan noted that toilets in the school were open to sky and did not even have doors and said since high-rise buildings were close-by, miscreants may take photographs of girl students using the toilets and circulate them on the internet.

The judge said he was not inclined to grant permission for continued functioning of the 'Sri Saravana Vidhyalaya Nursery and Primary School' at suburban Puzhal for a period of one academic year to carry out the rectifications.

He ordered that all the students studying in the school be accommodated in the nearby schools. Accepting the direction, the special government pleader submitted a list of eight schools located in the vicinity.

The matter relates to a petition from S Sasikumar, who submitted that the management of the school functioning in his property, had obtained approval and renewals from educational authorities by fraudulently misrepresenting the actual safety and infrastructure and sanitary conditions.

He sought a direction to authorities for inspection of the school. Following an earlier direction, Director of Elementary Education A Karuppuswamy and other officials were present before the court today.

The judge said there were also other deficiencies like asbestos sheet roof and thatched huts and asked the government pleader as to how permission was granted to such a school. He wondered if authorities will act only if an incident like the 2004 Kumbakonam school fire, in which several children died, occurred.

Pulling up the educational officials for not taking steps, the court said though a show cause notice was issued in 2015, no further action was initiated.

"It is very unfortunate that the authorities are careless and they have proceeded on the basis that the work comes to an end after the issuance of show cause notice. Prevention is better than cure," the judge said.

He directed the government to initiate departmental action against the officials who were in service at the time of issuance of show cause notice. The petitioner, whose attempts to terminate the tenancy agreement with the school had failed, submitted he had already made representations on March 2 this year to the educational authorities to inspect the premises in view of violations of regulations.