The Madras High Court on Wednesday directed the Tamil Nadu Director-General of Police and the Chennai Police Commissioner to stop ‘bus day' celebrations, observing that the occasion was “celebrated in such an illegal way causing serious inconvenience to the public at large and breaking the rule of law”.

The First Bench, comprising Chief Justice M.Y.Eqbal and Justice T.S. Sivagnanam, passed the interim order on a public interest litigation petition, which prayed for a direction to authorities for framing appropriate rules, regulations and guidelines in respect of bus day celebrations by students of different colleges in the State.

It was brought to the court's notice by the petitioner, an advocate, that in the name of ‘bus day celebrations,' college students coerced helpless bus drivers to drive the vehicle at snail's pace, which resulted in traffic blocks.

More than 150 students, against the normal capacity of 60 passengers, occupied the bus clinging on to the windows and travelling on footboards. Students also stood on the bus roof, which was in violation of the Motor Vehicles Act. They also consumed liquor and smoked cigarettes in full public view. All this caused inconvenience to the public.

Though the concept of bus day celebrations seemed innovative and was considered as a gesture by students towards the MTC crew, in reality the entire concept was twisted by the present-day students to suit their convenience. They caused large-scale commotion while celebrating the bizarre event.

They also indulged in sporadic violence. On several occasions, scuffles and street fights broke out between students and the general public, which if unchecked would cause widespread panic and destruction. Hence, the celebrations should be either banned or regulated by framing appropriate guidelines, the petitioner said.

The Bench said that before it could decide the issue finally, it was directing the Government Pleader to seek instructions regarding steps to be taken by the government to prevent such celebrations and file a counter affidavit. It also permitted the petitioner to implead the Principal of Vivekananda College, Mylapore, as a respondent.

Posting the matter for further hearing after three weeks, the Bench ordered notice to the Managing Director, MTC, Vice-Chancellor of Madras University and the Principals of Pachaiyappa's College, Presidency College, Government Arts College, Nandanam and New College.

The court said till further orders were passed, it was directing the respondents and all other persons connected with colleges not to allow students to indulge in the so-called ‘bus day' celebrations. Special Government Pleader (Education), G. Sankaran, was directed to communicate the court order to the Director of Collegiate Education who, in turn, should communicate it to all colleges.

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