Do municipal schools have basic medical aid facility? This was the question raised by the Bombay High Court while hearing a criminal public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a mother whose seven-year-old son lost his eye due to alleged negligence of a teacher as medical treatment was not provided by the BMC-run school.
A division bench of Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice Nishita Mhatre has a sked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to file affidavit on the kind of medical facilities available in municipal schools to take care of children in case of emergencies.
The high court has also asked the school, New Sion Urdu School, to file its affidavit in two weeks.
“Had there been any such (medical) facilities, boy's eye could have been saved,” said Justice Desai.
The high court was hearing criminal PIL filed by Sherbano Khan (32) who is seeking justice for her son Sohail and that no child suffers in future due to negligence of teacher.
Sherbano said the surgery was performed on Sohail last week at KEM Hospital.
Sohail is now scared to go to the school.
“Even Sherbano said she does not want him to go to the same school again. She is trying for his admission in some other school in the area,” said Shakeel Ahmed, social worker who has helped Sherbano file the petition.
Apart from seeking prosecution of the teacher, Sherbano has sought implementation of principle “golden hour treatment” to victims of mishap, as prescribed by the Supreme Court. Her PIL also states that every child has a right to education in a safe and secure environment.
Sohail (7), a Class II student at the New Sion Urdu School, badly injured his eye on January 15 while fighting with a classmate. The teacher was not present in the class at the time.
Despite the teacher being told about the incident and that Sohail’s eye was hurt badly, the teacher neither called for medical assistance nor sent Sohail to a hospital.
Her advocate Bhavesh Parmar argued that Sohail was allowed to go home only after two hours along with his sister who studies in the same class.
Sherbano took Sohail to Sion hospital, where they were informed that the required equipment was not available and he would have to be taken to KEM hospital. Sohail underwent the surgery the next day at KEM Hospital. He was discharged on January 18.
She lodged a complaint with the police and also with the municipal corporation. However, as no action was taken against anyone, Sherbano moved the high court along with Parivartan Shikshan Sanstha, an NGO working for education.