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SC seeks Centre’s reply on plea for implementing MHRD’s draft accountability guidelines

May 7, 2019

On Monday, May 6, the Supreme Court sought a reply from the Centre on a plea seeking direction to notify and implement draft accountability guidelines framed by the Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD), which lays down responsibilities of school management in ensuring safety and security of children in government and private schools.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta issued notice to the Centre and the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights on a plea filed by NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan.

On August 20, 2018, the Department of School Education and Literacy of the MHRD released the “Fixing Accountability of School Management towards Safety and Security of Children in School Guidelines” in consultation with the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).

“Only when such a notification is made by the Government of India can the schools, both government and private, be held responsible and consequently accountable for any lapse on their part regarding the safety and security of children in school,” said the petition filed through senior advocate H S Phoolka.

The plea, which claimed India has the largest population of children, said in a large number of cases, despite there being various laws relating to child safety and security along with recent draft accountability guidelines, there was no confidence on the implementation of these laws.

“The aim and objective behind the Draft Accountability Guidelines is to enact a self contained comprehensive legislation to provide for protection of all children from protection of children from all kinds of exploitation and abuse and guarantees their physical, social, psychological and moral well being,” it said.

The plea said the protection guaranteed by the state for the safety and security of children in schools by the draft accountability guidelines must be available to all the children, both studying in government as well as private schools.

“The schools, both government and private, need to protect their children from risk of natural disaster, health hazard, abuse violence and accidents,” said the petition.

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