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HC refuses to interfere with uniform code

Cuttack, Nov. 14: Orissa High Court today declined to interfere with the state government’s decision related to colour, design and specifications of uniform for school going students from Class I to VIII to be supplied free of cost under the Sarba Sikshya Abhijan.

A dispute over the state government’s decision was raised in the form of Public Interest Litigation (PIL). The court however, ruled that the purported dispute “does not attract public interest”.

The school and mass education department issued a communiqué to all collectors-cum-chairperson Sarba Sikshya Abhijan (SSA) on April 26, 2011 informing them of government decision to provide free uniform to all girl students, ST / SC boys and boys of Below Poverty Line (BPL) category by October 31, 2011.

The communication said the government intended to spend Rs 700 on each child. “I am enclosing the sample of the cloth and the photograph of the specifications for your perusal,” the school and mass education department commissioner-cum-secretary said.

“Efforts are being made by the school and mass education department to send the cloth specifications to the open market so that all willing shopkeepers across the state will have enough stock for the school management committees to purchase and supply to the students,” the letter said.

But a PIL filed in August alleged that the school and mass education department was not implementing the decision of the government that was communicated through the letter on April 26, 2011.

It was decided that the colour of the pants of the boys would be light chocolate and the colour of the check shirts will be light chocolate.

Similarly, the girl students will wear salwar of light chocolate colour. But the colour and design of pants, shirts and salwar was being changed under “influence of some businessmen”, the PIL alleged.

The PIL filed by Ramakanta Mishra was taken up for analogous hearing along with petitions filed separately by some traders seeking judicial intervention against possible loss due to change in colour specifications after being asked to make necessary arrangements for supply.

“The two judge bench of Chief Justice V. Gopal Gowda and justice B.N. Mohapatra dismissed the PIL on the ground that it does not attract public interest”, PIL petitioner’s counsel S.N. Sangneria told The Telegraph.

“The Court further ruled out any legitimate expectations on the part of the petitioners on the ground that the letter dated 26.4.11 was in the shape of an inquiry, the advertisement did not also speak regarding any particular colour and design and there was also no commitment,” Sangneria said.

The school and mass education department had taken the stand that the letter issued was only a proposal, which was subsequently modified.

Official sources said according to the modification deep blue pant and white half shirt were prescribed for boys from Class I to VIII.

Sky blue frock was approved for girl students from Class I to V and white salwar for upper class girls of VI, VII and VIII classes.

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