The Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday directed schools and their bus operators in the two states to comply with the laid-down rules by December 1 or face music.
The direction came from the high court bench of justice Rajive Bhalla during hearing of a petition pertaining to transportation of school children in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. “Comply with the orders or shut your business,” the bench told transporters as some of them pointed out that rules imposed by the states were “tough”.
The court, however, clarified that it was not mandatory to have pan-tilt-zoom cameras (PTZ) on school buses. Ordinary cameras would also do, it said, adding that it was mandatory to bring the buses under surveillance.
The HC also made it clear that if the guidelines are not complied in letter and spirit, top officials of education departments of these states would be summoned by the court. The condition of automated doors/ hydraulic doors, type of CCTV cameras and many other specifications for these vehicles are being opposed by transporters and schools.
The court made the Punjab state child rights protection commission as nodal agency for effective implementation of the “Safe School Vahan Policy.” It also gavethe central government more time to respond to recent amendments notified in the central motor vehicle rules, whereby hydraulic doors or automated doors are not mandatory for schools. The next hearing would take place on November 18. The Punjab and Haryana governments have also been told to consider providing special buses on reasonable rates to government school children.