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Child Labour And Child Marriages Increasing In Rural Areas As Children Are Not Going To School: Karnataka High Court

Mustafa Plumber
6 Dec 2020 3:40 AM GMT
Child Labour And Child Marriages Increasing In Rural Areas As Children Are Not Going To School: Karnataka High Court
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The Karnataka High Court on Friday observed that there is an increase in cases of child labour and child marriage in rural areas of the state, as children below the age of 14 years are not going to schools. A division bench of Justice B V Nagarathna and Justice N S Sanjay Gowda has directed the state government to in ten days time take a decision on whether the...

The Karnataka High Court on Friday observed that there is an increase in cases of child labour and child marriage in rural areas of the state, as children below the age of 14 years are not going to schools.

A division bench of Justice B V Nagarathna and Justice N S Sanjay Gowda has directed the state government to in ten days time take a decision on whether the presently suspended 'Vidyagama' Scheme can be recommenced, with a view to keep the students engaged and ensure they are not distracted or diverted and considering that Covid-19 cases in the state are declining.The program is for those students who do not have a facility of technology, especially internet in rural and semi urban areas.

Observing that "extraordinary situations call for extraordinary remedies", the bench directed the state government to approach Companies to garner funds for distribution of laptops, tablets, Computers, etc to students through the mechanism of Corporate Social Responsibility, as envisaged under section 135 of the Companies Act.

It added:

"If the state government makes an appeal to CSR as envisaged under the Companies Act, the concerned corporate entities and others would come forward to aid and assist the state in ensuring that there is no discontinuity in education of children. Particularly, in regards to Article 21-A of the Constitution of Indian and under the provisions of Right to Education Act 2009".

The bench has also directed the state government to rope in NGOs working in the field of education to ensure there is no disruption of education of children. The bench opined "These observation and directions are being made as it is not known when the Covid-19, pandemic will subside and when regular classes will commence for school students."

The directions were given while hearing a public interest litigation filed by A. A. Sanjeev Narrain, Arvind Narrain and Murali Mohan, which stated that the State by not providing adequate online resources to school children prior to resumption of online classes,violated Article 21-A read with the provisions of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education, 2009 ("RTE Act") read with the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules, 2010 ("RTE Rules") read with the Karnataka Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules, 2012 ("Karnataka RTE Rules").

It seeks directions to immediately formulate a plan of action to ensure the procurement and disbursal of low-cost laptops, tablets, and any other digital resources to school children belonging to the disadvantaged and economically weaker sections to allow them attend online classes.

The state government in its reply said that "On account of Covid-19 and huge expenses involved for management of the diseases over and above the regular expenditure involved in Governance of state. The prayer in the petition cannot be granted as the state exchequer is involved in Covid-19 management and huge expenses are being outlaid, as Disaster Management Act has been enforced in the state."

Further it was said that "Presently only students of 5th to 10 standard are imparted education through Television-Chandana channel. However, pre-primary and primary students are not having the benefit of online education."

The court has now posted the matter for further hearing on December 17.

What is the Vidyagama scheme:

To ensure that classes are not disrupted for children, who lacked access to online classes. Primary school teachers ask the children to gather in batches of 10 to 15 at a spacious place located in the vicinity of their stay. All the children are asked to wear face masks, undergo thermal screening and maintain physical distancing among them. The teachers visit the spot and engage them in academic activities at least for two hours a day, teaching them common subjects such as Science, Mathematics, Social Science and English. The scheme was suspended in October due to students testing positive for Covid-19.


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