RTI reveals large number of deaths of students in residential schools
An application was filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act seeking information regarding the students who died in the residential schools in Maharashtra in past ten years. The sought information included the names of the students, their age and class, name of the school, reason of death, action taken against the guilty and whether the concerned families were compensated.
The reply states that there are nearly 1 lakh 87 thousand students staying in 547 state-run residential schools across the state and another 82 thousand students staying in 556 government aided schools. The number of death of students during their stay in the residential schools during the period from 2001 to 2012 has been put at 192 in the reply. The common cause of deaths, as stated in the reply, were fever, suicides, accidents and snake bites and in some cases sudden death has been mentioned. The reply also state that out of 192 dead students, families of only 68 children have been compensated, the net compensation amount being Rs. 13 lakh.
Ravindra Talpe and advocate Uday Varunjikar of Samaj Kruti Samiti filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Bombay High Court in this regard after his appeal to NHRC, Chief Minister and the state’s governor did not fructify. The High Court has now directed the Maharashtra government to respond to the PIL which accuses the government of apathetic attitude and file an affidavit. The court has also asked the government to take steps to prevent such incidents.