HC bats for girls' safety
Cuttack: Orissa High Court has endorsed the state government's decision to remove male staff members from Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBVs) for the safety and security of girls.
The court refused to interfere as the government had taken the decision with the consent of the central government "based on well-founded reasoning".
The court gave the government the clean chit while dismissing a petition seeking its intervention against it. A score of disengaged male staff members - teaching and non-teaching - of the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya at Bisoi in Mayurbhanj district filed the petition.
The single-judge bench of Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad held that the government's decision "cannot be said to unreasonable as it is in the larger interest of the girl students" who are in their tender age and from the remotest areas of the state, dominated by tribal people where there were even no police stations to report any casualty if it happened.
The government had submitted in court that it, as a policy decision, had come out with the decision to disengage male staff members of the KGBVs for the interest of girl students and keeping their safety and security.
The court took judicial note of the report of the incident that had taken place at Titilagarh in Balangir district where three girls were molested by a night watchman since he was allowed to enter the school premises.
"The government, after coming to know about the said incident, has taken precautionary measure and as such it cannot be said that there is any unreasonableness on the part of the government and the government cannot wait for further incidents to occur for taking such policy decision," said Justice Prasad.
The verdict assumes significance as the central government had sanctioned 114 KGBVs for Odisha.
The scheme, the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya, aims to set up 750 residential schools at elementary level for girls predominantly from the SC, ST, OBC and minorities.