Chennai: Taking a tough position, the First Bench of the Madras High Court comprising Chief Justice MY Eqbal and Justice TS Sivagnanam, while hearing the suo moto writ petition on the tragic death of a child near Tambaram here, said that the suspension of officials like the Regional Transport Officer (RTO) and the Motor Vehicles Inspector (MVI) should not be a mere eyewash and asked if the lapses would not amount to committing a murder.
During the course of arguments, the Bench raised this question with regard to the death of six year-old Sruthi on July 25. Advocate General A Navaneethakrishnan told the bench that the Chief Minister had given instructions to take stringent action against the persons involved in the tragic incident.
Five persons, including the Motor Vehicles Inspector (Grade-I) attached to Tambaram RTO, who had failed in his duty, had been arrested and remanded to custody. To a query from the bench, the AG said that criminal action had been taken against them. Cases had been registered and the investigation was on. The Tambaram RTO and MV Inspector had been placed under suspension.
The court said suspension of the Regional Transport Officer and Motor Vehicles Inspector should not be an eyewash.
A show cause notice had also been issued to the school asking as to why it should not be closed down. The education authorities were contemplating cancelling the license and recognition granted to the school, the AG added. The bench directed the AG to initiate proceedings against the school both under criminal and civil laws.
Advocate RY George Williams told the bench that the managements of the schools were purchasing old and condemned buses and using the same for transportation of the children. Unless the court interfered and issued directions, the school and government authorities would not wake up from their slumber.
Another advocate Radhakrishnan said that a division bench of the High Court had already framed guidelines. But, they were not implemented and the same would amount to contempt of court, he added.
School Asked to Pay Compensation
The Madras High Court on Friday asked the management of Zion Matriculation Higher Secondary School in Selaiyur here to pay an interim compensation of Rs 50,000 to the parents of the deceased child in a week. “This would be subject to the final compensation that might be awarded by this court,” the bench observed.
Explaining the action taken, Advocate-General A Navaneethakrishnan said that a show cause notice had been issued by the Education Department to the Zion Matriculation Higher Secondary School asking why it should not be shut for lapses. However, taking into consideration the interest of the children studying in the school, the bench said that the school might not be closed down.
Earlier, the bench dispensed with the presence of the officials who had been arrested and remanded to judicial custody. A case had also been registered under Sections 279 and 304(ii) of the IPC and Sections 182-A and 190 of the Motor vehicles Act, the bench was informed.