Appearing before the Patna High Court, Chief Secretary Anjani Kumar Singh and DGP P K Thakur today assured the court that traffic would be regulated during the human chain programme tomorrow and participation of students and teachers would be voluntary.
The undertaking on traffic and participation of schools teachers and students was given by two top officials of the state to a division bench of Acting Chief Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice Sudhir Singh.
The court had yesterday called for personal presence of the two today to clarify position on traffic and teachers/students participation in the human chain on January 21 across Bihar.
The court was hearing a PIL filed by NGO “Forum for Public Interest Litigation” which raised the issue as under what provision the state government decided to stop traffic on national and state highways for the January 21 human chain.
The counsel for the petitioner, Shahibhusan Kumar, quoting a newspaper had also stated that block education officer of Sasaram has passed a coercive order that students not participating in the human chain programme would be deprived of benefits provided by the state government. Today some more examples were cited like programme to stop traffic in Bhagalpur from tonight itself.
On this Principal Additional Advocate General Lalit Kishore said that these matters would be looked into and suitable action would be taken in case of any wrongdoing.
The hearing was important today as Saturday’s human chain is billed as the world’s largest and about 2 crore citizens are expected to reaffirm commitment to liquor ban.
On traffic for the day, CS and state police chief assured the court that it would be properly regulated as alternative routes have been created along National Highways and State Highways and other roads through which people would stand holding each others hand for 45 minutes from 12:15 PM to 1 PM.
Where alternative route is not available, one lane has been kept open for traffic, they told the court.
They further said that emergency services have been allowed to run without any hindrance and said advocates, litigants and staff of courts have been included in the exemption list along with ambulances, water tankers, civil and police officials, judiciary among others.
The court directed to adequately advertise the traffic arrangements for the day for convenience of citizens.
On participation of students, the Chief Secretary said its purely voluntary and no “direct or indirect” coercive action would be taken against any school teacher/student for absenting from the event.
The matter would be heard next on January 28.
( Source – PTI )