The Kerala High Court on Monday directed the Education Department to install drop boxes in all schools in the State for students to submit their grievances and concerns anonymously.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly issued the order finding that circulars issued by the government in this regard had not been implemented in all schools.
"We are of the view that wherever the drop boxes have not been installed, the same have to be done in all Government/aided and unaided schools, as expeditiously as possible. In addition to the above, we direct all the Deputy Director of Education, all the Regional Deputy Director of Education (HSE Section), all the Assistant Directors (VHSE Section) and all the District/Assistant Educational Officers to send periodical report to the Director of General Education, Thiruvananthapuram, setting out the nature of complaints and finality of the same."
The Court also directed the State General Education Department to issue appropriate directions for effective monitoring and execution of the same and to put an effective means for the same in place.
The General Education Department of the State had issued a Government Order in 2016 on the request of the Child Welfare Commission, directing all schools including government/aided and unaided (Higher Secondary, Vocational Higher Secondary) schools to set up complaint boxes.
In these complaint boxes, students can anonymously drop in their complaints, vexations and concerns, particularly relating to any physical abuse or sexual harassment they could be facing. The order elaborates on how to deal with a complaint from a student.
However, the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) moved through Advocate Jomy K Jose alleged that due to the lackadaisical approach on the part of the respondents, the majority of the schools in the State had failed to set up such complaint boxes.
It was argued that the inertness on the part of the respondents in taking action against the schools which failed to implement the directions contained in Exhibit P1 Government Order is absolutely illegal. As such, the petitioner sought to implement the GO.
On the Court's instructions, the Director of the General Education Department filed a statement communicating that the GO has been implemented and subsequently, instructions have also been issued. Government Pleader K.R Ranjith also submitted several circulars that were issued over the years for the implementation of the GO.
Therefore, the Court disposed of the PIL with directions to expeditiously implement the GO in all schools where complaint boxes had not yet been installed.
Case Title: Faizal Kulappadam @ Faizal N v. State of Kerala & Ors.
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Ker) 331