The Centre and all state governments have six months to provide drinking water, toilets and other basic infrastructure to all schools — government or private.
The Supreme Court Wednesday also said all its previous directions for providing infrastructure to schools be implemented within the timeframe.
If the governments fail to comply, the petitioner Environmental and Consumer Protection Foundation, an NGO, could file contempt petition, the court said, disposing of a 2004 PIL seeking basic facilities in schools.
“RTE (Right to Education) provides for a commission for protection of children’s rights. With this judgment, this commission will have the power to ensure that basic facilities are there in schools,” petitioner’s counsel Ravindra Bana told HT.
The facilities were part of RTE guaranteed to every child and the government was obliged to provide the infrastructure, the court said in a March judgment. Toilets were a must as parents didn’t send their children, particularly girls, to schools that didn’t have the facility, it said.
Only 62.61% of schools in India have common toilets, a recent study by National University of Education Planning and Administration revealed. Of these, only 72% were found to be functional.