In a relief to schools and parents alike, the Bombay High Court on Monday directed the State Government not to take any coercive steps against those schools that are conducting online classes for students of Class II and below. Similarly, schools have been directed not to take any coercive steps against those parents who are not willing to force their children to attend online classes.
Division bench of Justice Ujjal Bhuyan and Justice NR Borkar granted three weeks time to the State government to file a reply to the writ petition filed by Parents Teachers Association of United Forum and two parents against a June 15 Government Resolution that does not allow students of Class II and below to attend classes online.
As per the said GR, state government has decided to allow schools to be physically reopened in rural areas, specifically, areas where there is not a single case of Covid-19 in more than a month. Moreover, it was notified that the new academic year for state board schools will start with online classes.
For students belonging between Class 3 to 5, the duration of these classes has been fixed at one hour, those between Class 5 to 8 have been granted a screen time of two hours and Classes 9-12 have been allotted the maximum screen time of three hours.
Senior Advocate Mihir Desai appeared on behalf of the petitioners and submitted that putting such a restriction on students belonging to Class II or below, i.e. pre-primary level is arbitrary and unconstitutional.
AGP BV Samant appeared for the respondent State and waived notice.
Thus, the bench observed-
"In the meanwhile, no coercive action shall be taken by the Government against the schools for providing online teaching to pupils belonging to class-II and below who are willing to avail such teaching.
Similarly, no coercive action shall be taken by the schools against those parents who are not willing to force their children (pupils) studying in class-II and below for availing online classes."
The next date of hearing in the matter is now on August 7, 2020.
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