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Patna HC summons CS, DGP over schoolchildren participation in human chain event

Court asks Bihar government to clarify its stand on engaging schoolchildren and stopping traffic for five hours on state and national highways for human chain in support of de-addiction on January 21

patna Updated: Jan 19, 2017 17:04 IST
Prashant Pratap
Prashant Pratap
Hindustan Times, Patna
Patna HC,de-addiction,prohibition
Representative photo of Patna high court.(HT photo)

The Patna high court on Thursday summoned the chief secretary (CS) and the director-general of police (DGP) while expressing its displeasure over the reported move to engage schoolchildren in the proposed human chain to solicit support on de-addiction on January 21.

The court asked the CS and the DGP to appear before it on Friday.

A division bench of acting chief justice Hemant Gupta and justice Sudhir Singh asked the duo to appear before the court on Friday to clarify the government’s stand after principal additional advocate general Lalit Kishore said participation in the human chain programme was voluntary.

“There is no type of coercion in the exercise. Participation (in human chain programme) is entirely voluntary,” Kishore told the court in compliance to its Wednesday’s order.

Kishore also said that arrangements had been made for unhindered flow of traffic on alternate routes. “Only one lane would be used for human chain at places where there were no alternate routes,” he said in response to the court’s query, seeking to know from the government under which provision it had decided to stop traffic for five hours on national and state highways.

Kishore also said ambulances, fire tenders, water tankers, vehicles of judiciary and those carrying policemen, government officers on duty and mediamen would be exempted from the traffic restriction.

The court had on Wednesday sought the state government’s response to a petition seeking to know why school children were being roped in for the proposed human chain programme and under what provision it had decided to stop traffic.

Earlier, appearing for petitioner Public Interest Ligation Forum, a non-governmental organisation, advocate Shashi Bhushan Kumar said the state government had no power to stop traffic on highways, and engaging schoolchildren in the programme was not appropriate

The Nitish Kumar government has planned a human chain across the state from 12.15pm to 1pm on January 21 to reaffirm its commitment to the liquor ban. The proposed human chain will spread across 11,292 km, involving around two crore people. District administrations have directed all schools — both private and government — to participate with their students in the 45-minute event.

The state has sanctioned Rs 10 crore for the entire event which will be captured by five satellites, some 40 drones and four trainer aircraft of the Bihar Flying Institute.

In its petition, the forum pleaded for quashing of the government order to stop plying of all vehicles on national and state highways for five hours on January 21.

First Published: Jan 19, 2017 17:04 IST