The All India Students’ Federation (AISF), a wing of the CPI, has moved the high court seeking a stay on the state government’s notification announcing a common colour code for the uniforms of a section of students of government and government-sponsored schools.
The government’s order also says that the uniforms have to display the Biswa Bangla logo.
The petition has dubbed the order “arbitrary, illegal and ultra vires” to the Constitution.
Asked about the petition, a lawyer who represents the government in education matters said: “We will tell the court what the state has to say.”
The government’s notification says the colour of the uniform for the students from the pre-primary level to Class VIII in all government and government-sponsored schools will be navy blue and white and the shirt and the kameez will display the Biswa Bangla logo.
“The boys will wear white shirts and navy blue pants. As for the girls, those from pre-primary to Class V will wear white shirts and navy blue frocks. For the ones from Class VI to VIII, the schools will choose either of the combinations — white kameez and navy blue salwar or navy blue kameez and white salwar,” an official in the school education department had said on Sunday.
An AISF member said: “We find the imposition of the colour code objectionable. Are the students brand ambassadors of the state government that the uniforms will display the Biswa Bangla logo?”
Junior Union education minister Subhas Sarkar said: “The Union government provides free uniforms to students. How can the state take such a decision in regard to how the money provided by the Union education ministry will be spent? We will look into the matter. Also, Biswa Bangla is the logo of an MSME (micro small and medium enterprise) company. If one state puts such a logo on school uniforms, others will start doing so.”
State government officials said the state and the Centre shared funds equally for students’ uniforms.
The state’s MSME and textile department has issued specifications for the manufacture of school uniforms, which will be delivered from the middle of April to June.
Trinamul spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said: “Biswa Bangla is a government slogan with a message to establish Bengal in front of the world” and it had no links with any private party or business.
Saugata Basu, of the Government School Teachers’ Association, said they would write to state education minister Bratya Basu and try to explain to him “that the colour code of each school has been part of the heritage of that institution”.
Swapan Mandal, of the Bengal Teachers’ and Employees Association, said: “This order shows the government does not believe that institutions can have identities of their own.”