“This is an extremely sorry state of affairs,” remarked Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar on Thursday, referring to a letter highlighting the deaths of five tribal children who were denied medical treatment at a resident school in Thane district.
The high court directed the project officer in charge of the ashram shalas (resident schools) of Thane district to remain present in court on Friday.
On December 12, 2007, social activist Suresh Shinda had written to the Chief Justice alleging that in 2006-07 five tribal children had taken ill at the Dahanu ashram shala. But instead of treating them, the in-charge sent them home and soon after all five died. However, no action was taken against the superintendent, the letter alleged.
Shinde added that he had informed then tribal welfare secretary Sunil Porwal about the deaths, who directed him to lodge a police complaint. But as there was “no progress in the case”, he wrote to the Chief Justice seeking justice.
Additional Government Pleader Geeta Mulekar, who has been appointed as amicus curie (friend of court), on Thursday said she has taken newspaper clippings of other appalling incidents at such resident schools.
Referring to an article in a tabloid, Mulekar told the court that a 15-year-old pregnant student of Govade ashram shala near Manor, Palghar, had accused the superintendent of inducing her with false marriage promises.
The court directed Government Pleader Pradip Patil to ensure that the project officer and all officers concerned are present during Friday proceedings, failing which they would have to face the music.