Chennai, Sept 03: The Tamil Nadu government today submitted a report before the Madras High Court, stipulating fresh safety guidelines for school buses in the state, in the wake of death of a second standard student Shruthi, who was run over by the school bus on July 25.
In compliance with the High Court directive, Advocate General Navaneethakrishnan submitted the draft report, when the suo motu proceedings initiated by the court came up for hearing before the First Bench comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Mr Justice Arumugaswamy.
The Court accepted the report and treated the matter as closed. The Court also directed the state government to ensure that these fresh guidelines were pasted in all the schools across the State. The 11 new guidelines stipulated by the government included formation of district level committees to monitor the functioning of school buses and a multi-level committee among schools, besides formation of Parent Teachers Association in all schools.
Apart from ensuring that school buses were used only for transporting students, the government has fixed a minimum of ten years experience for appointment of drivers in schools. Maintenance of a log book by the driver on minor problems occurring in the bus to ensure periodic maintenance, ensuring presence of an assistant in all school buses, and displaying the name of the school with telephone numbers on the front and rear side of the bus, grills for the windows to prevent children from putting their hands out were some of the guidelines prescribed by the government.
The Court, which had pulled up the government during the earlier hearing on August 29 for showing laxity in framing the guidelines, lauded the government for framing the fresh guidelines and welcomed it. It may be recalled that six-year-old Shruti, who was returning home in the school bus, fell through a hole on the floor of the bus and was crushed to death by the rear wheels of the school bus on July 25.
The death of Shruti shocked the entire state and the Madras High Court had on July 27 initiated suo motu proceedings and directed the Tamil Nadu government to frame fresh guidelines on the safety and maintenance of school vehicles and submit the draft within two weeks. Seven people were arrested in connection with the incident.
Among those arrested were School Correspondent N Vijayan, bus owner Yogeswaran, who had leased out the bus to school, bus driver Seeman, cleaner Shanmugham, Tamabram Motor Vehicles Inspector P Rajasekaran, who had given the fitness certificate for the defective bus 20 days before the incident, Ravi and Paulraj.
Both Ravi and Paulraj, who were part of the school management, were also relatives of Vijayan and they had had entered into a pact with the school for maintaining the buses. Mr Rajasekaran was also placed under suspension till the disposal of the case in the High court.