June 24th, 2017
As reported by The Indian Express, the Uttrakhand High Court has stopped the state government from purchasing mobile phones, cars, ACs and other luxury items. The decision was taken on Thursday, 22 June, over non-implementation of its order to provide basic minimum amenities to children in the state-run schools.
Justices Rajiv Sharma and Alok Singh have said that the state government has miserably failed to provide bare minimum facilities to students like benches, desks, blackboards, separate hygienic toilets for boys and girls, water purifiers and ceiling fans. The state government is restrained from buying cars, furniture and air conditioners, etc. till further orders of the Court.
The court held the government responsible for the state’s “falling standards of education” and for “miserably failing to provide bare minimum facilities”.
In 2014, a Dehradun resident, Deepak Rana, had filed a Public Interest Litigation which illustrated the dearth of basic amenities in the schools. The High Court on November 19, 2016 asked the state government to provide at least bare minimum infrastructure with basic facilities like school uniforms, mid-day meals, blackboards, computers and a library in all government schools across the state, besides providing toilets for boys and girls. The state government has failed to implement the directions even after seven months of passing the judgment.
“The High Court had earlier directed to provide government schools at least with the minimum facilities that include; sanitary healthcare for both boys and girls, a set of uniform every six months, mid-day meals, heating arrangements adequate lighting, seating, blackboard, etc. were made mandatory in the order,” NDTV quoted Parikshit Saini, an advocate for the petitioner, as saying.
Lalit Miglani, advocate who moved the present petition before the court, said that, “The Secretary, Education, State of Uttarakhand was summoned in this Court yet the only explanation offered by the Secretary to the Court is that the matter was taken up with the Finance Department of the State in March 2017, but, till date, no response has been received from the Department of Finance.”
On 22 June,2017, the High Court has noted in its order that none of its directions were implemented.
It has since directed the Secretary (Finance) as well the Secretary (Education), State of Uttarakhand, to remain present in person before the Court on June 23, 2017 at 3.30 PM. The court held that since the state government failed to provide minimum bare facilities in schools, the state government is restrained from buying luxurious items till further orders of the High Court.