The Bombay High Court has given a month to the state government to act on the recommendation of an Amicus Curiae in the case of Satara village children rowing to school.
The Maharashtra government informed the Bombay High Court that it had done a lot for the families (File)
By Vidya : A report filed by an amicus in the case of Satara children rowing boats to school every day reveals major flaws in the Maharashtra government’s claims.
The Bombay High Court has given the Maharashtra government one month to decide on Amicus Sanjeev Kadam’s recommendation regarding children from a Satara village having to row boats and cross jungles to get to school.
The high court heard a suo motu petition after seeing a news report on India Today Group’s Mumbai Tak channel in which children were seen rowing boats on their way to school. Amicus Kadam was then appointed and given the task of preparing a report.
Kadam had stated that the Khirkhande village, from where the children hail, was project-affected.
Since the Koyna River’s backwater inundates the area, most families accepted the government’s offer and relocated. Six families, on the other hand, refused to relocate. Every day, the children of these six families travel by boat and then walk through the jungle to school, Kadam said.
After the issue was brought to the attention of the court, the Maharashtra government claimed that it had done a lot for the families. The high court then directed Kadam to investigate these claims and submit a report on his visit. The government had claimed that it had given a better land option to the affected families and had put the children in residential schools.
CLAIM VS REALITY
Kadam on Thursday informed the bench of Acting Chief Justice SV Gangapurwala and Justice SG Chapalgaonkar that the new place was on the slope of a hill with no access to roads or even pathways.
The land was unfit for cultivation and thus unsuitable for the families, said Kadam, adding that the option “given by the government is totally impracticable and not feasible.”
Aside from that, the Maharashtra government claimed to have persuaded families to send their children to a residential school in a nearby village rather than taking the difficult route. However, Kadam stated in his report that, due to a lack of facilities at the residential school, all of the children had returned to their previous institution.
During Thursday’s hearing, Kadam told the bench that ordering the government to hand over Gairan or Pasteur land to the families would be a better way to resolve the issue. However, the bench replied that according to the Supreme Court, these lands cannot be given away for such usage.
Kadam suggested that if the court allows it, it might be possible. Government petitioner PP Kakde then immediately responded that it could be considered.
Dec 16, 2022