Delhi High Court Issues Comprehensive Guidelines For Child Safety Monitoring Committee | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey

The Delhi High Court, in response to a petition filed on its own motion, has issued a series of detailed guidelines for the functioning of the Child Safety Monitoring Committee (CSMC).

On September 27, 2023 the High Court had established a three-member committee to assess school safety standards, aiming to prevent incidents of harm to students. The decision stemmed from a suo moto Public Interest Litigation (PIL) regarding the reported sexual assault on a three-year-old girl by a school cleaner in South Delhi. In response to the incident, the Delhi government’s standing counsel had urged the court to create a permanent child safety monitoring committee in collaboration with the Department of Education.

The Court thus had issued an order constituting a Child Safety Monitoring Committee (CSMC) to monitor the implementation of a Circular dated November 07, 2017, which prescribed minimum standards of school safety in the National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD). The CSMC, headed by Dr. R.M. Sharma, had been granted six months to file a report on school safety compliance.

In response to an application by Dr. R.M. Sharma seeking approval of guidelines/procedures for the CSMC’s duties a Division Bench of the then Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Tushar Rao Gedela issued specific directions. These include:

Inspection Protocol: The Committee as a whole, led by the Chairperson, will inspect schools. Independent inspections by members may be allowed in exceptional circumstances with the Chairperson’s approval. The Chairperson has the authority to re-inspect a school if unsatisfied with a member’s report.

Decision-making Authority: The Chairperson will conduct proceedings, and suggestions from committee members will be considered but the Chairperson’s decision will be final and binding.

Interaction with School Authorities: Members are not allowed to interact directly with the head of the school, manager, or any school authority.

Checklist Compliance: The checklist attached to the Circular will be provided to the school during inspection. The school will have an opportunity to provide comments or representations within 10 days.

Transparency Measures: The Chairperson will inspect areas like classrooms and toilets, and photographs will be taken to ensure transparency.

Security Measures: Police verification of guards and staff, especially those near female children’s toilets, and school bus drivers, is mandated. The Chairperson may direct suspension if verifications are not provided.

Meeting Procedures: The Chairperson will frame the agenda for meetings, and their decision will be final in case of differences.

The Court has scheduled the matter for reporting and further directions on April 18, 2024.

Cause Title: Court On its Own Motion v. Government Of NCT Of Delhi


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