The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Hyderabad School Students Parents Association, seeking directions to ban online classes.
The petitioner argued that conducting online classes before the beginning of an academic year is “illegal”. The court was told that the government had not yet issued orders with regard to the beginning of the new academic year.
The petitioner’s counsel submitted before a division bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B Vijayasen Reddy that conducting online classes is “unjust for students coming from poor families”.
“Will all the people have the capacity to buy laptops and smartphones,” the court asked during the hearing.
The government counsel maintained that district education officers will take appropriate action in this regard.
The court then asked the government to inform it in two days about the policy or otherwise on the issue.
Last week, the court had observed that it cannot direct the government to take a policy decision on online classes conducted by private schools.
The court had dismissed a PIL filed by one Abdul Raheem, faulting the action of private schools in forcing students and their parents to pay full tuition fees for the online classes.
The petitioner had alleged that the private schools were conducting online classes only to collect money during these troubled times. The petitioner complained that children and parents were suffering due to lack of government guidelines on online classes.
A non-governmental organization working for child rights has also filed a PIL to seek directions to the state government to provide midday meals to all students of government and aided schools in the state and to conduct online classes by providing necessary equipment and gadgets for students of Classes 6 to 10.
Balala Hakkula Sangham submitted that for students of government and aided schools and civic schools, the authorities had failed to take any steps for conducting online classes. As a result, it contended, the students are losing precious time and can’t compete with the students of private schools.