The Delhi High Court declined on Tuesday to hear a public interest lawsuit against the full physical reopening of schools here, amid concerns over the spread of COVID-19, saying there was nothing to demonstrate the right to Children’s lives would be at risk if there were no data to show that children were at high risk.
A bench led by acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi said a balance has to be struck and the children lose more by not going to school.
The court, which also included Judge Navin Chawla, rejected lawyer Anand Kumar Pandey’s request, saying that a plea cannot be held without an expert opinion, simply on the basis of the petitioner’s detention.
He argued that children under 14 cannot be forced to physically attend school if they have not been vaccinated against the COVID 19 virus. Pandey asked the Delhi government to revoke the decision on 100 percent physical reopening of schools effective April 1 until all school-aged children are fully vaccinated.
“The point is that there has to be a balance. Children lose more by not going to school. There is no data to say that children are at high risk of either contracting covid or getting severe covid,” the court told the petitioner.
“The petition is based on the petitioner’s own opinion and there is no material basis for the petitioner to harbor the fears he has expressed,” it said. “There is nothing to show that the right to life is at risk. ”, it added.
The court noted that there are studies to show the psychological impact of school absenteeism on children, as they have been unable to ‘develop’ their social, behavioral and interpersonal skills.
The petitioner said that the right to life is paramount and that parental consent should be made mandatory to restart physical classes for children. “Don’t let them send if the parents are so scared. In fact, most parents are fed up and say they should send our kids to school,” the bank said.
“We find no value in the petition. Rejected,” it ordered. The petition stated that if physical classes are allowed for children ages 4-12 and 12-14 without any preparation and vaccination, there will be a “catastrophic spread” of the COVID-19 infection among children would be.