A public interest litigation petition has been filed in the Madras High Court Bench in Madurai to frame special rules governing the transport of school children in government buses, autorickshaws and vans as it had been done in the case of private school buses.
A. Arunothayam Erskine of a non-governmental organisation based in Virudhunagar district had filed the case through his counsel R. Narayanan. The petitioner stressed that his plea must be considered seriously as more than 60 per cent of school students travelled in vehicles other than school buses.
Claiming that the State government had issued 27.2 lakh free bus passes to school children, Mr. Erskine said that most of them had to travel on footboard in congested buses and suffer humiliation at the hands of bus drivers and conductors for travelling free of cost.
He said that girls and physically challenged children faced physical as well as mental abuse from some unruly elements while travelling in public transport. Many a times, the government buses did not halt at bus stops thereby making the school going children run behind the vehicles for a long distance.
The petitioner suggested that the government could consider operating special buses exclusively for the use of school children on the lines of those operated for women alone. The drivers and conductors of those buses could be sensitised on the need to treat them properly and behave responsibly.