PIL Seeking Revocation of Notification for Reopening of Schools Lacking Locus Standi Not Maintainable: Calcutta HC
The High Court of Calcutta in Sudip Ghosh Chowdhury vs. State of West Bengal – WPA (P) 295 of 2021 – invoked locus standi of the petition and dismissed a plea brought forth by a party not aggrieved by the decision of reopening schools for class IX to XII.
The bench of Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava held:
Having regard to the material pointed out by learned Advocate General and also taking note of his statement that the grievance or suggestion of the affected parties, if any raised, will be duly considered by the competent authority, we are of the opinion that no further direction in this petition is required.
The petitioner had challenged the notification issued by the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education dated 29.10.2021 and 16.11.2021 on reopening of the schools and had filed public interest litigation (PIL). As per the notification, the Government had approved the reopening of schools for Classes IX to XII on and from 16th November 2021. The petitioner’s child, a student of class IV did not fall under this notification nor was he required to attend school.
The Advocate General of the State stated that the petitioner was not an affected party and therefore the PIL should not be entertained. He further added that the pandemic situation had considerably improved and therefore the State had decided to reopen schools only for classes IX to XII. The State had also taken into consideration the difficulties of virtual learning and therefore, in the interest of students, taken the said decision. Nevertheless, the Advocate General pointed out that class IX to XII form only 50% of the school strength and their timings too were different to ensure adherence to pandemic protocols while adding that states including Kerala and Maharashtra had also reopened their schools.
Accordingly, after hearing the parties, the court concluded that there was no locus standi since the petition was not attached with any grievances raised by affected parents, students, teachers, or employees. In the event that such grievances are raised, the court was assured of consideration by a competent authority.
Concluding, the petition was disposed of.
Rasmita Behera | Research Intern | EduLegaL
Swapna Iyer | Legal Editor | EduLegaL