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If you don’t have the money to provide for basic facilities to schools, you should not be having the money to provide for yourself luxury cars and such other items. This was the clear message sent to the Uttarakhand government by the Uttarakhand High Court on Thursday (June 22). The High Court, hence, restrained the state government from buying luxury cars, furniture and air conditioners, in what can be a precedent-setting judgement.

The Court observed that the state government has failed miserably in providing minimum basic facilities to schools, items such as benches, desks, blackboards (with chalk and duster), separate hygienic toilets for boys and girls, water purifiers and ceiling fans as directed by the Court in its judgement of November 19, 2016.

The Court had also ordered that schools be provided computers, well-stocked libraries and well-equipped science laboratories within three months. It had also ordered two sets of uniforms for all students of government and aided schools twice a year.

The court order had also included mid-day meals for all up to the secondary level.

These were the orders, apart from orders that said that the buildings should be well lit and ventilated and heaters in the winter.

The order also included grants for madrasas under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan and stipends for SC, ST and BPL students.

All the students belonging to SC and ST and BPL categories shall be paid suitable stipend.

In the backdrop of this order, inspections were carried out and a division bench of Justices Alok Singh and Rajiv Sharma said that even after so many months the order has not been implemented.

The education secretary of the state informed the court that the finance department had been informed in March but has received no reply to date.

The bench observed: “It reflects a very sorry state of affairs. The peremptory directions were issued by the court on November 19, 2016, to arrest the falling standards of education in the state of Uttarakhand and to provide at least bare minimum infrastructure and wherewithal in government run schools.

Since, the state government miserably failed to provide minimum bare facilities in schools… the government is restrained from buying luxurious cars, furniture and air conditioners etc till further orders of this court,” the court ordered.

—India Legal Bureau

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