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May 03, 2020 Sunday 11:48:26 AM IST

Kerala High Court Directive to Reduce the Weight of School Bags

Image by Muzammil Cholayil for Pixabay.com

A recent Kerala High Court judgement has directed the educational authorities to ensure that weight of the school bags were reduced and the rights of the children were not violated. This was in response to a writ petition filed by Dr Johny Syriac seeking a direction to the Central Government, State Government and the educational authorities to ensure that weight of the school bags were reduced, as it was proven that heavier school bags could have adverse effects on the health of the growing children. 
The public interest litigation cited scientific evidence to prove that carrying heavy school bags will affect the growth of students as they grow into adulthood. It was reported that growth points in the bones will be damaged by carrying excessively heavy school bags resulting in abnormal growth.
The Court observed that the Director of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), New Delhi had issued a circular dated 12.9.2016 directing all the schools affiliated to it to take appropriate measures to reduce the weight of the school bags carried by the students. It was suggested by the petitioner that the school bags would be ideal, if the weight of the same is 10% of the child’s body weight, which will reduce the adverse effects. It was pointed out that the circular issued by the CBSE should be extended to all the students and schools in the state, irrespective of private or government institutions. 

The Court observed that Article 21 of the Constitution of India dealing with the protection of life and personnel liberty, also conceive that children enjoy their school life without being disturbed in any manner especially physically and mentally. Unnecessary burden imposed upon the children will lead to deprivation of their life and personal liberty and therefore, the concerned government and all the educational agencies have the responsibility and the duty to ensure that the children were carrying school bags with minimum weight.
The Court observed that in order to ensure the objectives of education it is highly necessary that the children go to their schools with happiness and return with satisfaction in good physical and mental health, and they are not made to suffer trauma of any nature for their continued health, education and welfare.
Accordingly, the Court allowed the writ petition and directed the Union Government and the State Government and all the educational authorities including the CBSE to ensure that orders passed by the concerned government are implemented in all the schools, in its letter and spirit and carry out periodic inspection in the school with or without notice so as to ensure that the orders are implemented by the respective authorities.

P S Antony

P.S ANTONY ,District Judge (Retd.) & Senior Faculty Bharata  Mata School of Legal Studies , Aluva

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