Madras HC dismisses plea seeking school closure due to Corona Virus

Madras HC takes Cognizance on alleged Sexual harassment case on Woman IPS Officer

Terming a PIL seeking direction for shutting down schools till the virus spread is contained as a knee-jerk reaction, the Madras high court has, instead, advised the public to adhere to health advisories issued by the health department.

Prior Facts:

The court was hearing a petition that called for closure of schools in the State to protect school children. The court made the observation while disposing of a plea by advocate V K Rajavelu seeking direction to the State Government to shut down educational institutions till the virus spread is contained.

Key Features:

  • All precautions are being taken to contain the transmission of coronavirus in schools, the State government informed the Madras High Court on Thursday.
  • No school-going child has been infected with the virus in the State so far. 
  • The petitioner had not disclosed in the entire affidavit even a single incident of the virus occurrence in educational institutions.
  • The petitioner made it clear that schools are places where children gather in groups.
  • The petitioner claimed that, as children cannot follow the precautionary measures as suggested by the Health Department, there are higher chances of a child showing symptoms of flu being isolated over fear of the virus.
  • State government counsel submitted that two circulars were sent by government to education department on the detailed precautionary measures to be undertaken by schools.

Judgement:

Terming it a knee-jerk reaction, the bench said, “Such cavalier petition does not deserve to be entertained.”Bench of Chief Justice AP Sahi and Justice Senthil Kumar Ramamoorthy said that, “Public should follow cough etiquette by covering their face while sneezing/coughing. Wash hands with soap and water frequently.”

Chief Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi and Justice Senthil kumar Ramamoorthy made it clear that it was for the government and not the court to take a call on closing down all schools, especially when the petitioner had not pointed out even a single instance of anyone testing positive for COVID-19 in any school. “If this is allowed, then tomorrow, you may ask for closing down the High Court,” the Chief Justice said and disposed of the PIL petition, filed by advocate V.K. Rajavelu, with a direction to School Education Department to issue appropriate instructions to be followed by schools to ensure safety of children.

After taking note of submissions made by State Government Pleader V. Jayaprakash Narayanan that the government had already taken adequate precautionary measures, the judges said: “In the absence of any material (relating to COVID-19 having been reported in any school), such cavalier petition does not deserve to be entertained as a knee jerk action.”

Edited by J. Madonna Jephi

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje

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Vaibhav Goyal is a 3rd year BA.LLB (H) student of UILS, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India. He also basically belongs to the “City Beautiful-Chandigarh”. He had interned and have work experience at various Central and State Government bodies of India including the National Human Rights Commission, New Delhi; the Central Information Commission, New Delhi; U.T. Legal Services Authority, Chandigarh, etc. His research projects includes the study on the Right to Emergency Services (PSHRC), Resettlement of Migrant People (NHRC), Implications of RTI in Financial Institutions (CIC), etc. His publications involve articles in different fields of law like administrative, jurisprudence, etc. on online journals including the Juscholars Blog, Burnished Law Journal, etc. His research paper on Prison Reform was published in the Panjab University Journal and his paper was selected in category of best abstract on the topic of Naxalism: A State of Lawlessness and Arbitrariness. He had scored well in various competitions of law consisting of Quiz, Essay Writing, Lecture, Declamation, etc. He had also participated in various conferences including the World Law Forum Conference on Strategic Lawsuits on Public Participation held in New Delhi on Oct 20, 2018 and the National Law Conclave 2020 held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi on Jan 11, 2020.