Court demands criminal action in school girl’s death case (Lead)July 27th, 2012 - 8:36 pm ICT by IANS
Chennai, July 27 (IANS) The Madras High Court Friday asked the Tamil Nadu government to take criminal and civil action against those responsible for the death of a six-year-old girl who was crushed under her school bus after she slipped down a hole under her seat.
The court, taking suo moto notice of the accident, asked the government to come out within a week with draft safety guidelines on buses used to transport students with provisions such as prohibiting vehicles more than five years from carrying school children.
According to the court’s directions Thursday, officials of the state education and transport departments and Zion Matriculation School appeared before the court.
S. Shruti, who was returning home from her school in Tambaram city suburbs Wednesday, was seated on the sixth row behind the driver in the school bus.
When she got up to get down, she fell on the road after slipping through a massive hole under her seat and was crushed to death by the same bus.
The cardboard which was used to cover the hole under her seat gave in under her weight as she stood up, and resulted in her death.
Unaware of the incident, driver Seeman continued to drive while the passersby were horrified to witness the girl being crushed to death.
The driver was thrashed by the people as he refused to believe that such an accident had occurred. The mob set the bus on fire.
The authorities of Zion Matriculation School denied any responsibility and blamed the bus contractor for the vehicle’s condition.
The vehicle was given a fitness certificate by the transport department July 9.
Thursday, the police arrested motor vehicle inspector P. Rajasekaran for issuing the fitness certificate for the vehicle without inspecting it properly. The government has also suspended the regional transport officer at the Tambaram office.
The government has also ordered a detailed enquiry by P. Vijayaraj, the deputy transport commissioner.
With the arrest of Rajasekaran, the total number of people taken to custody in the case is five. The police had earlier arrested a senior school official N. Vijayan, bus owner Yogeswaran, driver Seeman and cleaner Shanmugham.
To a query by the court, the government counsel submitted that the officials would be under suspension till the enquiry into the issue was complete.
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Tags: bus contractor, city suburbs, death case, draft safety, madras high court, matriculation, more than five years, passersby, regional transport, returning home, safety guidelines, school bus, shruti, state education, tambaram, tamil nadu government, transport commissioner, transport department, transport officer, vehicle inspector