The Bombay high court on Monday suggested that the state government consider bringing the school bus service under the purview of the Essential Services Maintenance Act.
The division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice Ranjit More made the suggestion while hearing a public interest litigation filed by Forum for Fairness in Education.
In the PIL filed through advocate Aniket Nikam, the forum had sought direction to the School Bus Owners Association to call off the indefinite strike and direction to the state government not to dilute the school bus safety norms introduced in March 2011.
Additional government pleader GW Mattos had earlier submitted that the government was keen on implementing the safety norms.
The forum had approached the high court after the association went on a strike on March 9 to protest a few of the conditions imposed in safety norms. The strike, however, was called off the next day after the court issued a notice to the association.
The court disposed off the PIL by allowing the association to make a representation to the state government about their grievances. It also directed the government to take into consideration grievances of the school bus owners and decide their representation latest by May 15, so that necessary modifications could be made during the summer vacation.
Counsel for the association, VP Patil, assured the court that the bus owners would not again resort to strike causing hardships to schoolchildren and their parents. He, however, insisted that the government give a personal hearing to the representatives of the association before taking any final decision with respect to the modification.