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Thursday, Dec 12, 2019

Bombay high court dismisses PIL seeking orders to make school bags lighter

If the petitioner believed bags are still heavy, then students probably do not carry books as per the timetable but take all books which result in excess weight, the HC bench said.

mumbai Updated: Jul 09, 2019 00:42 IST

Hindustan Times
The court held that the weight of school bags was not as much as it used to be.
The court held that the weight of school bags was not as much as it used to be. (Hindustan Times)
         

The Bombay high court on Monday dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) that sought court directions to the state education department to reduce the weight of school bags.

The court held that the weight of school bags was not as much as it used to be.

If the petitioner believed bags are still heavy, then students probably do not carry books as per the timetable but take all books which result in excess weight, the HC bench said.

When the PIL filed by Swati Patil, an activist from Pune, came up for hearing before the division bench of chief justice Pradeep Nandrajog and justice NM Jamdar, the bench sought to know what the issue was as they did not think the weight of school bags was more than what they used to carry when in school.

The bench said National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT) had been trimming the content of books from time to time so books are thinner. If the weight was still considered to be more, then it was to be assumed that students were not adhering to the timetable and were carrying all books to school every day.

“Though we had thicker books, we never had any back problem. Our books used to have gender differentiation but today’s books are gender neutral. The NCERT has been moving with the times by including changes and even making thinner books,” said the bench.

The court directed the petitioner to check the NCERT website and verify whether the school was adhering to the curriculum stipulated by it and, if not, to approach the school with the facts.

The court added that if the school failed to abide by the NCERT recommended curriculum, Patil could approach the court again.

In July 2015, after Patil filed a plea in the HC regarding the matter, a government-appointed committee had put a cap on the weight of school bags at 10% of the student’s body weight.