Sunday, May 17, 2015

Have woman attendants in buses: HC

CHANDIGARH: The Punjab and Haryana high court asked the UT administration and the Haryana government to ensure presence of a woman attendant in schools buses on Friday, three days after a private school bus conductor was arrested for molesting a five-year-old girl in Chandigarh.

The court also asked the authorities to ensure school buses have automated doors to guarantee the safety of schoolchildren.

The directions would be implemented in schools affiliated to the Central Board of School Education (CBSE).

When the matter related to unsafe school buses in the region came up for hearing before Justice Rajive Bhalla, he asked the counsels for Punjab, Haryana and UT administration about the deployment of woman attendants.

The court made these observations referring to the recent incident of molestation. Navdeep Asija, road safety expert from Punjab, had also raised the issue before the bench.

Responding to the query from the court, Punjab additional advocate general Rajinder Goyal informed Punjab already has a provision of woman attendant in its "Safe School Vahan Policy". Goyal also submitted an affidavit of state transport commissioner informing about school buses with automated doors that would move only if they were properly shut.

Justice Bhalla then asked the UT administration as well as the Haryana government to make such provisions.

The case was fixed for May 27 for further hearing.

The order has come in the wake of a suo motu cognizance taken by the high court on the accidents that were taking place in both the state owing to unsafe school buses. On January 16, the high court had directed district transport officers (DTOs) and motor vehicle inspectors (MVIs) to personally supervise/inspect school buses and issue a certificate confirming that they were as per standards set in by the Supreme Court and in 'Safe School Vahan Policy'. This certificate would be prominently displayed on school buses. The high court had also directed the states to ensure children were not transported in school buses that do not have valid school bus permit.

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