High Court: Safety of children cannot be compromised in any manner

Safety of children cannot be compromised in any manner, the Delhi High Court has said while directing the fire department to inspect a private school lacking valid fire safety certificate within two weeks.

Justice Vibhu Bakhru directed the Chief Fire Officer to inspect the premises of the petitioner school to ascertain whether it has addressed other shortcomings and to indicate any other measures, that are required to be taken keeping in view the petitioner’s difficulty in widening the staircase in question.

The high court also directed that the school be given sufficient time to address the issues that may be raised by Chief Fire Officer and to put in place additional measures that may be required.

“Clearly, safety of the children studying at the petitioner school cannot be compromised in any manner. In the meanwhile, respondent no 1 (Directorate of Education) shall not take any precipitate steps for de-recognising the petitioner school,” the high court said.

“It is clarified that the petitioner would have to satisfy respondent no 2 (Chief Fire Officer) in all respects regarding fire safety and if the petitioner is unable to put in place sufficient measures, within a reasonable period of time, respondents are at liberty to take all steps as available in law including cancellation of the recognition granted to the petitioner,” it said.

The high court was hearing a plea filed by Seth Bhagwan Dass Sr Sec Public School seeking directions to Directorate of Education not to withdraw the recognition granted to the said school.

The petitioner apprehended that the recognition granted to the school would be revoked pursuant to the show cause notice dated July 26 whereby Directorate of Education had called upon it to submit an explanation for not having a valid Fire Safety Certificate.

It said it did not have a Fire Safety Certificate as the school building was lacking in regard to certain fire safety measures. The petitioner claimed that the school building is an old building and the school is being run from the current premises since 1988. The width of the internal staircase is only 0.95 metres.

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