PIL in SC on safety of students in private coaching centres

New Delhi: A PIL was filed in Supreme Court on Wednesday seeking directions to the Centre to frame guidelines for safety of private coaching institutes, in the wake of tragedy in Surat, where over 20 people, mostly students were killed after a massive fire broke out at a coaching centre.

Advocate Pawan Prakash Pathak, who filed the PIL, said the apex court should intervene in the regularisation of private coaching centres, and suggested developing minimum standards for their operation.

“There will be initial resistance to all the new regulations, curtailing the freedom that coaching classes are used to up to the present but after the initial teething troubles, the petitioner is of view that regularisation of coaching classes will create a better scenario for the students, their parents and those who run the coaching classes,” said the petition.

The PIL said coaching centres have become an indispensable, parallel education system, which is rapidly growing in the country, but is yet to be regularized.

It also brought forth the constitutional right of safety of students and the principle of absolute liability with respect to private coaching institutes. “…these institutes come under the purview of state as defined under Article 12 of the Constitution of India, the criteria of public importance and public duty is performed by these organizations and institutes while using the resources of the state and for this reason it is covered under the definition of State,” said the petition emphasizing that coaching centres should comply with local building bye-laws and safety norms.

The petition sought protection of fundamental rights of the students, therefore, the departments concerned should develop guidelines regarding compulsory safety measures required to be adopted by private coaching institutes.