HC disposes of plea to distribute laptops

Court says it is a matter of policy made by the govt.

Disposing of a petition that sought a direction to the State to distribute free laptops to Class XII students of 2017-18 batch, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court observed that it was a matter of policy.

The court was hearing the public interest litigation petition filed by Kaudeen of Pudukkottai district, which stated that laptops were not provided to the 2017-18 batch students. In the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, they needed the laptops to attend online classes, he said.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice T.S. Sivagnanam said, “The petitioner desires that students aged up to 17 should be entitled to supply of free laptops by the State. Indeed, we hope that the State has the resources to provide laptops to even toddlers as the newer generations appear to be adept at using gadgets almost from birth.”

The court took cognisance of the counter affidavit filed by the District Educational Officer, Pudukkottai. It was submitted that about 2.08 lakh laptops had been purchased in addition to the 5.32 lakh laptops purchased for distribution to the students for the year 2021.

The judges observed, “It is essentially a matter of policy and availability of resources that impels a decision of such kind. When the State has considered it appropriate to provide laptops to certain categories of persons and not to others, the State must be seen to have considered all aspects. In matters of policy, the courts scarcely interfere, though the courts may request the State to look into the possibility of extending the State largesse to a wider section of society.”

The court disposed of the petition by requesting the State to consider whether distribution of laptops could be made to younger students too.

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