The Madras High Court on Monday wanted to know the number of schools functioning in Chennai city and whether all those had adequate facilities, such as spacious playgrounds, for physical education. The court also wanted to know the medical facilities available in the schools to keep a check on the physical as well as mental health of students.
The First Division Bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice P.T. Asha called for the details, “as a first step,” on a public interest litigation petition filed by Madurai-based psychologist P.R. Subaschandran, 67, who insisted on streamlining the education system and making physical education an essential part of the academic curriculum in schools.
Arguing his case in person, the petitioner contended that lack of importance to physical education in schools was the prime reason for many children suffering from obesity, diabetes and other ailments. He said, children were also pushed into depression due to much importance given to writing examinations and scoring marks than excelling in sports.
Stating that he wanted to approach the court with complete details of the schools that lacked infrastructure required for physical education as per government norms, Mr. Subaschandran said, the public information officer of the school education department refused to provide the information sought by him under the Right to Information Act of 2005.
He also told the court that a first appeal preferred by him under the RTI Act was rejected and a second appeal moved before the Tamil Nadu Information Commission was yet to be decided. Surprised over such rejection, the judges wondered how could the officials refuse to even divulge the number of schools functioning in the State.
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