High Court Orders for Education Dept to install the complaint box in all Kerala schools. The Kerala High Court has ordered the Secretary to the Government, Government of Kerala, General Education Department, and the Director of General necessary education, Thiruvananthapuram, to issue instructions for adequate supervision and implementation of High Court Orders for Education Dept issued regarding the setting up of complaint boxes/drop boxes in schools.
The Division Bench of Shaji P. Chaly & Chief Justice S. Manikumar directed education department officers to set up school complaint boxes during school visits. All Deputy Directors of Education, Regional Deputy Directors of Education (Higher Secondary Education (HSE) Section), Assistant Directors (Vocational Higher Secondary Education (VHSE) Section), and District/Assistant Educational Officers to send the periodical report to the Director of General Education.
The Court disposed of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Faizal Kulappadam @ Faizal N seeking a directive to require all Kerala schools, both aided and unaided (Higher Secondary, Vocational Higher Secondary), to install complaint boxes.
Here are the short facts leading to the filing of the petition:
The General Education Department issued a directive on February 11, 2016, to establish student complaint boxes in all Kerala schools. The Government decided to release Exhibit P1 Government Order in response to a request from the Child Welfare Commission. According to High Court Orders for Education Dept, Students can anonymously leave their complaints/vexations/concerns in the complaint boxes. It describes in full how to handle a student complaint. Because of the respondents’ lax attitude, most of Kerala’s schools failed to establish complaint boxes. The respondents’ failure to take action against the schools that failed to follow the directives in the Government Order is entirely unlawful. The public interest action launched because the respondents failed to execute the GO dated 11.02.2016.
Based on the instructions, a statement dated 24.06.2022 filed on behalf of the Director, General Education Department, claiming that it executed and that instructions given as a result.
The following are excerpts from the statement:
The aforementioned Writ Petition filed as a Public Interest Litigation alleging non-implementation of G.O.(P) No. 39/2016/G.Edn. dated 11.02.2016.” It claimed that, in response to an order issued by the State Child Welfare Commission on December 20, 2014, the Department of General Education issued Circular No. 2859/G3/15/G.Edn on March 18, 2015, instructing all schools to install drop boxes. Following that, the Government established rules for implementing the drop box and managing complaints received via G.O.(P) No. 39/2016/G.Edn dated 11.02.2016 (Exhibit P1).
According to the letter dated 19.04.2017 from the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) regarding the implementation of the National Commission for the Protection of the Rights of the Child’s online complaint box, the Director of Public Instructions issued Circulars on 20.09.2017 and 03.03.2018. The petitioner’s assertion that the defendants are inactive in executing the Government Order and that the boxes are not available in most schools is incorrect. The Department is eager to put the terms of the Government Order into effect.
It said that the drop box instructions included in the draught school manual issued in May 2022, under Chapter 11 under ‘General Things.’ Furthermore, upon reopening schools, all institution heads reminded to follow the directives in G.O.(P) No. 39/2016/G.Edn dated 11.02.2016 via Circular No.M(4)465299/2022/DGE dated 17.06.2022. It also demanded that Educational Officers make the complaint boxes available during their school inspections.
It is respectfully submitted that the respondents have shown no laxity in carrying out the orders in G.O.(P) No. 39/2016/G. Edn dated 11.12.2016.”
K.R.Ranjith, Government Pleader, has also filed a memo dated 01.07.2022, including copies of Circular No.G3/2859/2015/G.Edn. dated 18.03.2015, No.M-4/40217/2017/DPI dated 20.09.2017, No.M4/95408/2017/DGE dated 03.03.2018, G.O.(P)
According to the letter dated June 17, 2022 and signed by the Director of General Education.
“ Attention invited to the references. Instruction had already been given to install complaint boxes in schools. Taking into consideration the importance of the matter all Government, Unaided, Aided schools shall follow the instructions as such. The Educational Officers should ensure that complaint boxes installed in the schools during their school visit.”
Although Jomy K. Jose, counsel for the petitioner, claimed that the Director of General Education did not issue instructions in Exhibit R3(e) letter dated 17.06.2022, stating that drop boxes should be kept in all Higher Secondary and Vocational Higher Secondary Schools, the Court is hesitant to accept this argument because reading letter dated 17.06.2022 reveals to the Court that all references there in deleted.
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