Taking suo motu cognisance of the death of a seven-year-old under the wheels of a school bus, the Madras high court on Thursday sought an explanation from the government, as the shocking incident triggered a public outcry with demand for strong action against the guilty.
A day after Shruthi, a second standard student at the Zion Matriculation School slipped through a hole in the floor of the bus and was crushed to death, chief minister Jayalalithaa directed police and school education department to take stringent action against those responsible.
She ordered the police and education department to take stern action against those responsible for taking the defective bus on contract for use as school vehicle.
Describing the incident as 'very pathetic', the First Bench of the high court, comprising chief justice MY Eqbal and TS Sivagnanam, said it was also "very unfortunate" to read that the bus was given road worthiness clearance just 15 days earlier by the regional transport office.
"The matter is taken suo-motu notice by this court. The school authorities, the regional transport commissioner and the officers, who certified the road worthiness of the bus are directed to appear before this court tomorrow" the Bench said.
It also directed Advocate General A Navaneethakrishnan to contact the officers concerned and tell them to be present.
Meanwhile, four persons including the school correspondent (administrator) N Vijayan and the contractor of the bus were arrested and remanded to judicial custody.
An irate mob had on Wednesday torched the bus after the the freak accident.
Hundreds of people marched in a silent procession at suburban Tambaram, from where the victim hails. The school was closed on Thursday.