Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has asked Maharashtra government to provide generators, inverters and solar panels on a war-footing to schools so that the students are not forced to give examinations in darkness due to load shedding in the state.
The bench of Justices Abhay Oka and AS Chandurkar was hearing a contempt petition filed by activist Vishnu Gawli alleging that the government had not implemented earlier court orders in 2008 of providing uninterrupted power supply to schools which conduct HSC and SSC examinations.
Gawli, arguing in person, informed the judges that till date the government has not taken any steps to ensure that such provisions are made for students, especially during the examinations.
To this, Justice Oka observed that the state`s finance department should have taken necessary steps in this regard.
The judges also asked Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB) to file an affidavit by August 4.
In 2008, Gawli had written a letter to the HC, which was converted into a suo motu PIL, highlighting that lakhs of students were forced to take their examinations in dark due to load shedding.
On February 27, 2009, the High Court had directed the government to ensure supply of around 40,000 generators to schools conducting the examinations. In addition, the court had asked the MSEB to ensure that there is no load shedding at the time of examinations.
The High Court had also asked the authorities concerned Maharashtra government, Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC), Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB) and Education Department to have a meeting and find solution to difficulties faced by students while writing examinations during load shedding.
However, till date none of the authorities have assembled for a meeting.
Gawli had filed a contempt petition in 2009. The matter was heard today.
In 2009, the High Court had directed formation of a
committee to conduct surprise checks to ensure that there are back-up generators.
The court had clearly stated that the actions of those examination centres, which are not following the order, will be treated as contempt of the court and they will accordingly have to face the consequences.
According to an affidavit filed in 2009 by Tukaram Supe, the board`s secretary, 287 examination centres have gen-sets or inverters.
As many as 2,608 centres are not affected by load shedding, either because there is no power cut in those areas or the centres are airy enough, and have natural light, the affidavit had said.