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HC asks Maha if policy on weight of schoolbags implemented

The Bombay High Court asked the Maharashtra government to inform within two weeks whether it has implemented its policy regarding reducing weight of schoolbags carried by students.

The bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka was hearing a PIL filed by Swati Patil which contends that the heavy load carried by students has adverse health effects.

After government lawyer Purnima Kantharia said she needed time to seek instructions, the court granted the government two weeks’ time to file a reply.

The court also asked whether the policy, published in a circular last year, would apply to all schools, aided and non-aided, etc.

The petitioner’s lawyer argued that the rules should apply to all the schools; otherwise the purpose of framing the policy won’t serve any purpose.

As per the directive of the high court, the government had last year issued a circular based on recommendations of a committee.

The government-appointed committee had said in many cases students were lugging schoolbags 20-30 per cent heavier than what the children should carry. Because of this, around 60 per cent students below the age of 10 suffered from orthopaedic ailments, it said.

It recommended that weight of the textbooks can be cut down by using lighter paper and doing away with hardcovers. It also suggested use of e-classroom, audio-visual technology and other modern means of teaching to lessen the load of books and notebooks.

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