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Indian high court directs gov't to provide schools with basic facilities

Publication Date : 04-10-2012


The Indian Supreme Court yesterday directed the central and state governments to provide basic infrastructure, including drinking water and toilets, in all schools within six months.

A Bench of the court headed by Justice K S Radhakrishnan fixed the time limit and asked the governments to take steps to provide the basic facilities in schools across the country.

The Bench said that all its previous directions pertaining to providing infrastructure should be implemented within the time frame fixed by it.

On October 18 last year, the apex court had directed all states and union territories to build toilets, particularly for girls, in all government schools.

The court passed the order on a public interest litigation seeking its direction to the central and state governments to provide basic facilities of drinking water and toilets in schools.

The apex court had earlier stated that it was imperative that all schools provide toilet facilities, as empirical research indicated that wherever toilet facilities are not provided in schools, parents do not send their children (particularly girls) to schools. The court had also observed that not providing the infrastructure was a violation of the right to free and compulsory education of children guaranteed under Article 21-A of the Constitution.

Drugs pricing system: Separately, the SC also asked the central government not to alter the existing pricing system for essential medicines as this may lead to a steep hike in their prices. It told the government not to disturb the existing retail price mechanism of drugs under its new price control order while finalising the list of essential medicines.

A Bench headed by Justice G S Singhvi also gave the government a week to come up with a timeline for implementing its new drug-pricing policy, which proposes a national list of 348 essential medicines.

Criticising the government for taking too long in increasing the number of medicines under the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM), the court noted that things had not moved for nine years and told the government to bring more essential medicines within the reach of the common man.

With Additional Solicitor General Siddhartha Luthra seeking more time so that the government could complete the procedure for notifying the NLEM, the court gave the government seven days to tell it the time it would require for notifying the NLEM under the new price control order.

Luthra told the court that the recommendations made by the Group of Ministers that looked into the issue, will soon be placed before the Cabinet for a final decision on the issue.

With reports from PTI


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