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Covid-19: Supreme Court says can’t order to send all children to schools, can’t take over governance

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The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a plea filed by a Class 12 student in Delhi particularly on account of the indecision and vacillation on the part of the Union Government and governments of several states and union territories, including the AAP government, in the matter of re-opening of schools and resumption of physical classes (Amar Prem Prakash (minor) vs. UOI and ors.).

“You should encourage this young child to study and not pursue such remedy before the court. He is saying decide expeditiously. This petition is so misplaced. Children should not be involved in this,”

-said the bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud to the counsel appearing on behalf of student. 

“The government is answerable and accountable. At this stage, I don’t think the court should say send all students to school. Karnataka decision is taken, so does the Delhi govt,” opined the Bench. 

“I bow down to my lords suggestion. It is not the publicity stunt,” replied Advocate Mehrotra appearing for petitioner. 

“Let’s leave for some democratic way of life. Sure, they want their children to go to school. Let’s leave it to every state to find out the density of virus at places. We can’t take over governance,” said the two-bench which also comprised Justice B.V. Nagarathna.

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Advocate Ravi Prakash Mehrotra appearing for the petitioner apprised the bench that this petition was filed 5 weeks back. At that time no decision was taken, various public institution are open. The children are having mental pressure. The petition is dismissed as withdrawn. 

The Court was hearing the petition filed by a Class 12 student aggrieved by the decision of Central and state governments in matter of re-opening of schools and resumption of physical classes. It prayed for directions to the Central and state governments to consider and take time-bound decision in regard to the physical re-opening of schools in respective areas and conduct of offline teaching.

The plea had stated that the indecision on the part of the respondent on the matter of reopening of the school is taking heavy toll on mental psyche and wellness of the student community owing to their classes and school exercise are conducted online since March 2020. “The present writ petition echo the sentiments of the student community specially the underprivileged and voiceless children who are unable to attend classes virtually because of economic constraints. It has been claimed by the petitioner that the non-opening of the school not only is detrimental to the interest of student but also tantamount to discrimination and unfair treatment,” the plea further stated. 

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Furthermore, it was averred,

“if public places can re-open for people who may or may not have been vaccinated, regulated by Covid appropriate behaviour, it merits serious consideration that schools and educational institutions must be given priority in re-opening.”

“This would ensure the mental and physical well being of students in the present context, as also to assure them their meaningful right, to not only education but education they deserve, and also their right to life and equality to be treated in the same manner as students in other states of the country, wherein, decisions have been taken to re-open schools with Covid-19 precautionary measures in place,”

-it added. 

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