The Bombay High Court asked the Maharashtra government to appoint two officers to conduct surprise checks on city municipal schools to verify the claim of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) that clean and separate toilets were available for boys and girls in schools.
The High Court was hearing a suo moto a public interest litigation seeking better toilet and drinking water facilities at the municipal-run schools.
It had take suo moto cognisance of a letter written by activist Bhagwanji Raiyani who had attached a newspaper report of August 28, 2008 alleging lack of toilets in the municipal schools.
“We direct the education department of the state government to appoint two officers not below the rank of section officers. The nominated officers shall take surprise inspections of five schools in each ward and verify whether facilities, as claimed by the BMC, is available,” observed a division bench of justices Abhay Oka and Ajey Gadkari.
The HC directed the government officers to visit the schools without giving intimation to any BMC officer. The officers have been asked to file report by December 18.
Anil Sakhare, counsel for BMC, informed the court that they have provided separate toilets for boys and girls at over 1,200 schools run by the corporation.
“Cleaning of schools which are housed in big buildings is outsourced to private agencies. Additionally, there are water purifiers to provide clean drinking water. Water tanks are cleaned twice a year,” said Sakhare.
The court was initially irked by an BMC affidavit which stated that they have relied on reports of two NGOs saying that the civic body is providing necessary facilities at its schools.
“This shows that the BMC officers have not personally conducted a survey to verify whether the facilities are provided at the BMC schools. This shows non-application of mind on the part of the officers,” remarked Justice Oka.