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Haryana decides against use of private school buses for political rallies

Statesman News Service | Chandigarh |

In a relief to private schools, the Haryana government on Friday decided against forcible takeover of their buses for political rallies of the ruling party.

A spokesman of the Haryana home department said that the private school buses would not be requisitioned for rallies and other purposes except in accordance with the law.

"Haryana government has decided that henceforth use of force or coercive method upon the managements of private schools to send their buses for the purpose of rallies shall be prohibited, he said, adding that a circular to this effect has been issued by the additional chief secretary (home).

The moves come after Punjab and Haryana High Court (HC) on 13 February issued notice to the Haryana home secretary asking him why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against him for not taking any action on the plea of private schools of the state against forcible takeover of school buses during rallies of the ruling party.

Earlier in October, 2016 the HC had asked the state to take appropriate steps on the plea filed by Federation of Private Schools Welfare Associations, Haryana, within six weeks.

As the state authorities failed to decide the petitioner's representation, the federation filed a petition seeking directions to initiate contempt of court proceedings against the home secretary for not complying with HC directions.

Hearing the plea, Justice Jaswant Singh asked the Haryana home secretary to file his reply on the issue by March 14.

In its petition, the federation has said that it was aggrieved by the action of the government under which school buses were used by the ruling party to organise public rallies and ferry the general public at the cost of the small children.

It was further said that the school buses were not only taken outside the permissible limit for which the route permits are being granted, but also taken to other states.

"The school authorities are being pressurized to send their buses beyond the route permit. In case some accident happens, the school authorities would be personally liable for that as the insurance company will repudiate the claim for violation of the terms and condition of the policy," the Federation has claimed.