Bengaluru: Taking serious note of the rising incidents of sexual assaults of minor girls in schools, the Karnataka High Court on Friday pulled up the education department and private schools and asked them to ensure the safety and security of students.
Hearing a petition filed by private school managements seeking a stay on safety guidelines issued by police, Justice A N Venugopal Gowda said if the education department and school managements do not take action against defaulters, the court would intervene.
It observed that the action taken by education department and managements were not satisfactory and also said, "If they don't take the matter seriously, the court will intervene and initiate day-to-day monitoring."
The judge said the court expects every government servant to take action against those who are inactive or have failed in discharging duties with devotion. "Unless they live up to the expectations, there cannot be effective implementation."
He directed Karnataka Public Instruction Commissioner Mohammed Mohsin to take action against erring officials. He also flayed the education department for not initiating steps to check mushrooming of illegal schools in the state.
"Why are you not taking action against unauthorised schools?" the judge asked, adding that had the education department acted, such incidents (of sexual assaults) would not have taken place.
Schools have primary duty to take care of children from the time they leave for school till they reach home, he said.
Taking note of Home Minister K J George's remarks blaming the media for highlighting the rape cases to increase TRP ratings, the judge said the fourth estate is the guardian of public interest and shouldn't be blamed. "Why do you blame the media? Media is the guardian of public interest," he said.
Recurring sexual assaults on minor girls here have evoked public outrage and raised questions about safety in schools and their compliance with safety guidelines issued by police. Four sexual assaults of minor girls in schools occurred in the city in as many months.
In the latest incident, a six-year-old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted twice by Hindi teacher in a private school on October 28.