A division bench of the Madras High Court bench here has directed the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) officials to take action against drivers and conductors who failed to carry students with bus passes.
Justices N. Paul Vasanthakumar and P. Devadass gave the interim direction while hearing a public interest litigation filed by G. Gnanagurunathan, an advocate, seeking a direction to the TNSTC to ensure that buses halted at all scheduled bus stops for thte benefit of school students who have bus passes.
The petitioner had referred to an article published in The Hindu (“Erratic bus service, hitch-hiking are student’s bane” June 20) and similar articles by two other dailies in his petition. The news reports had stated that seven school students died in Pudukottai district after hitchhiking in a milk van after a government bus refused to stop.
The petitioner’s counsel, K. Samidurai, alleged that the TNSTC crew held a grudge against students with bus passes as they did not contribute to their daily collection. Therefore, they try to avoid carrying students with bus passes, he claimed.
The counsel contended that the government buses stopping several metres away from the scheduled bus stops and school students running behind them to board had become a common sight. This had led to freak mishaps involving schoolchildren, Mr. Samidurai alleged.
The division bench noted that the TNSTC officials had filed an affidavit in the court in a 2010 case that a circular was issued to the drivers and conductors, instructing them to stop the buses at all scheduled stops and to ferry students with bus passes.
The judges also pointed out that the officials had assured the court of departmental action against the drivers and conductors who failed to comply with the instructions.
“The counsel for the TNSTC was unable to state how many drivers and conductors were subjected to departmental action for not adhering to the instructions in the circular. As no material is produced before this court regarding the action taken against the TNSTC staff, we issue a direction to the parent-teacher associations, parents and the school authorities to lodge their complaints with the transport corporation officials about the violations,” the judges ruled.
The complainants can mention the route, bus number and the time of violation to the authorities. On receiving a complaint, the authorities should take immediate action as per their circular, they held. The case has been posted to August 19 with a direction to the TNSTC officials to file a compliance report.