Published On : Sun, Sep 30th, 2018

Conductor arrested in child rape case but is school not responsible too?

NAGPUR: Last Day, another horrific case of crime against a very young three year old girl, in her own school bus came to light sending shock waves across the state.

The conductor concerned, who is alleged to have committed the heinous crime has been arrested by the police but why are authorities not acting against the Buty Public school management and the Principal?

Are they not equally culpable in flouting rules while plying their school buses, no doubt for hefty fees?

Apart from the Govt laying down Rules and Regulations, the Supreme court has also given directions which they keep adding to. Because they hold children’s safety sacrosanct. Some of these rules that must be adhered to are:

GPS and CCTV have been made compulsory in school buses. Installation of CCTV in school premises are made compulsory. The footage of the CCTV must be kept for 60 days and must be handed over to the police in case of any investigation purpose.

School bus drivers are restricted to have interaction with students beyond a limit in school bus and socializing with students is also limited. Surely this rule must apply to the conductor also? Then how come the girl was allowed – may be even encouraged to sit in front next to the conductor?

According to reports, the female attendant on the bus was getting down and ‘escorting the child to the house’ – in which time the remaining children were obviously left alone with the male driver and conductor. (Which was when the dastardly act was committed.)

What the Bombay High court ruled when it took suo moto notice of a fatal accident of a school going boy in 2012?

The state high court also laid down a number of conditions like the colour of the bus; the name of the school being painted in prominent letters on the body of the bus, horizontal bars, presence of female attendant AT ALL TIMES and fitting of CCTV cameras on school buses.

Advocate Firdaus Mirza was appointed the Amicus Curae – helper of the court – for the case.

NT spoke to his junior lawyer Advocate Tejas Deshpande about the current situation, since Advocate Mirza was busy in a family function.

Deshpande opined that the court is so serious about the issue of children’s safety that it has directed all schools to periodically submit details of their buses to the court.

“It this said school has not followed rules like fitting of CCTV cameras and strictly adhering to no socializing between bus driver – conductor and children, then the Dy Director of Education will be justified in even cancelling the school’s permit.”

He further opined that even when school managements ostensibly ‘outsource’ transport of students to a outside agency they do have their fingers in the pie where it comes to accruing financial benefit from the arrangement.

Advocate Deshpande also expressed regret that only some schools seem to have taken the court’s directions seriously and installed CCTV cameras in their buses.

“Many parents are also careless about checking on their off spring’s safety in the school bus due to which such shocking cases go on happening.”