The Gujarat High Court has directed the State to submit an action taken report after taking suo moto notice of the drowning incident involving 12 students and 2 teachers from New Sunrise School during a school picnic at Harni Lake in Vadodara.

The Bench headed by Chief Justice Sunita Agarwal and comprising Justice Aniruddha P. Mayee observed that the incident was deeply disturbing.

Brijesh Trivedi, President of the Gujarat High Court Advocates’ Association, brought to the attention of the court a news item reported in Ahmedabad Mirror and other leading newspapers on January 19, 2024.

The report highlighted a tragic incident where 12 students and 2 teachers from New Sunrise School drowned in Harni Lake during a school picnic. The incident, which occurred at around 4:45 p.m., involved a boat with a capacity for 16 persons, but it was carrying 27 individuals when it capsized.

The report further stated that witnesses, including other teachers and students, observed the accident and the activity was managed by Fun Time Arena under a contract with the Vadodara Municipal Corporation. The reports suggested a disregard for safety norms, as the children on the boat were not provided with life jackets.

The Court directed the Secretary, Home Department, State of Gujarat, to submit an action taken report, along with an affidavit from a Gazetted Officer of the Home Department, Government of Gujarat, by the next scheduled date.

Accordingly, the Court listed the matter for January 29, 2024.

Cause Title: Suo Moto Cognizance

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