Taking cognisance of a recent incident in which a nine-year-old girl was molested by a canteen staff in her school in Dadar, the Bombay high court on Monday said all schools in the state must think about installing CCTV cameras within their premises.
A bench of justice Naresh Patil and justice Amjad Sayed also sought a reply from the state education department on the checks and vigilance it employs in schools and on whether the state can make it mandatory for schools to install CCTV cameras. The bench was hearing a bunch of petitions on the safety of women on local trains and on the problems faced by senior citizens on locals, when an advocate brought the December 8 incident of the Dadar school to the bench’s notice.
Advocate Madhav Jamdar submitted newspaper reports on the incident and sought the court’s intervention. He suggested the state government be directed to conduct an emergency meeting with principals and senior teachers in the state, adding that such incidents of child abuse were on the rise in schools.
At this, the bench asked the state’s counsel Priyabhushan Kakade to list out steps taken towards the protection of children in schools by the next hearing.
“This is such a disturbing incident. Does the school have any sort of child protection policy in place?” the bench asked.
Meanwhile, the bench also directed the state government and the Western and Central railways to respond to suggestions made by the high court on tackling overcrowding in trains. In a previous hearing on December 16 last year, the court had suggested, among other things, that the usual 10 to 5 office-hour pattern be tweaked to reduce the ‘peak hour’ rush at local railway stations.
On Wednesday, advocate Kakade informed the bench the state is considering the bench’s suggestions and it could be possible to tweak the work hours by about “30 minutes on a trial basis.”
The high court is likely to take up both issues for further hearing on January 22.