The odd even scheme is just a day away, but the schools in the national capital have raised concerns over how the school buses that have been procured by the Delhi government to aid their initiative will be used. With the lack of clarity still prevailing, the Delhi High Court observed that the Delhi government cannot coerce, compel or otherwise force private, unaided and recognised schools to provide their buses during the 15-day period whilst the scheme is on.In order to successfully implement the odd even scheme to combat pollution for a trial period of two weeks, the Delhi government announced 4,000 ‘general’ buses would ply the streets of which around 2,000 would be procured from schools. According to a notice issued by the Department of Education (DoE) dated December 18, the Delhi government not only declared a two-week holiday during this period, but also announced the requisitioning of school buses to augment the DTC fleet.A circular issued by transport minister Gopal Rai on December 21, requested the schools to register their buses at the nearest DDE with copies of the Contract of Carriage, Insurance and Fitness Certificates. According to the same circular, failure to comply with the directions would be dealt with seriously.A few schools objected to this forcible closure and the government’s demand to use the buses as well. “This commandeering of the school buses is in complete violation of Article 14, 19 and 21 read with Article 300A of the Constitution,” says advocate Pramod Gupta. The lawyer represented the petitioners Action Committee of Unaided Recognised Private Schools that comprises around 400 private and unaided schools. The school authorities were also concerned about the school buses being used for purposes other than ferrying students, teachers and other school staff which would be in violation of the terms and conditions of the insurance policies taken out on the vehicles concerned.”The RTE is there to regulate school education and matters of education for children. It cannot be used to direct school buses — properties of autonomous bodies — to the DTDC for the implementation of a government scheme,” Gupta further argued. Recognizing the matter, Judge Hima Kohli who presided over the bench questioned the petitioner which school was forced or coerced to which there was no answer. Taking cognizance of the matter she further directed the government not to coerce, force or compel the schools to provide buses.Responding to the allegations, standing council for the Delhi Government Rahul Mehra stated that so far 1,700 school buses have registered on a voluntary basis. With around 400 school apparently not willing to part with their fleet – the number of buses may figure more than 1,000 – it is difficult to quantify how this will affect the number of buses that will actually ply on the streets during the coming two weeks.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>


Delhi High Court says school buses cannot be forced to ply during odd even rule