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Supreme Court criticises Andhra Pradesh government for not ensuring toilets, water in schools

Friday, 9 May 2014 - 7:13pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

The Supreme Court on Friday took a stern view of the Andhra Pradesh government not complying with its directions to ensure drinking water and separate toilets for girls and boys in schools and directed the state's Principal Secretary to appear before it and explain the exact position.

A bench of justices Dipak Misra and V Gopala Gowda said these provisions are essential for basic human rights that enhance the atmosphere where the education is imparted.

"When young children go to school and they do not have the essential facilities, drinking water and separate toilets and the requisite teaching and non-teaching staff who impart education subject-wise, in our considered opinion that would be causing a dent in the system of imparting education.

"Once there is an impairment of imparting education, needless to say that the country would not be in a position to produce the consensus and progressive citizens for this country," the bench said while passing the order in the contempt petition filed against the state in connection with a right to education case.

"In view of the aforesaid, while directing the Principal Secretary for the state of Andhra Pradesh to file an affidavit explaining the exact position and the progress, we direct that the Principal Secretary, Education, shall remain personally present on the next date of hearing, i.e., July 7, 2014," it said.

The bench also rejected the explanation given by the state that there has been some compliance but it requires more time to comply with all the directions.

The counsel, appearing for the state, had also submitted there is a large number of schools and it has to be done in a phased manner.

The bench said the directions, if understood properly means providing separate toilet facilities for boys and girls, making provisions for teaching and non-teaching staff in aided or unaided in minority or non-minority schools.

"It can also be put in the compartment of basic needs and requirements in schools but for the reasons the state of Andhra Pradesh, as we are presently concerned with it, has not taken appropriate steps," it said.

The court had in October 2012 directed the state government to provide within six months "toilet facilities for boys and girls, drinking water facilities, sufficient classrooms, appointment of teaching and non-teaching staff" in all schools."

"We make it clear that these directions are applicable to all the schools, whether state-owned or privately-owned, aided or unaided, minority or non-minority," the court had said.

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