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School suicides cannot happen: Calcutta HC

By Anuj Cariappa

Kolkata, June 28: After the appalling incident of 14-year-old Krittika Paul's suicide in the washroom of a famous Kolkata school where she studied shocked the city a week ago. The Calcutta high court observing the incident said on Thursday that, Incidents like the suicide of 14-year-old Krittika Paul in her school's washroom "cannot happen".

According to the TOI report, the Calcutta high court has directed the state government to not only submit a report on the case but specify whether schools in Bengal have counsellors, toilet attendants and sufficient washroom facilities. It also asked if class attendance can be recorded after every period.

File photo of Calcutta High Court

"Such incidents cannot happen repeatedly. The court needs to know the steps taken," judge Protik Prakash Banerjee said.

The HC also sent notices to the state and school boards, CBSE and CISCE, to be present during the next hearing on July 22. The judge also directed that Krittika's parents be represented in the hearings. The HC indicated that it may issue a comprehensive security guideline for schools after hearing and consulting all stakeholders.

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The matter of Krittika's death came up in court on Thursday when lawyer Priyanka Tibrewal, who was appearing in an earlier school molestation case, sought permission to file a supplementary affidavit highlighting the suicide. She pointed out that justice Nadira Patherya had in November 2018 ordered that counsellors be appointed in all the lakh-odd educational institutions in the state in a phased manner within one year. Tibrewal argued that had the order been implemented, the unfortunate incident could have been averted.

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