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The Supreme Court on Monday said it cannot ask the states to open schools saying these issues are fraught with grave complexity as the country just came out of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic and nobody knows when the spike would happen again.

A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and B V Nagarathna declined to consider a plea by a Class XII student from Delhi for directions to Centre and states to take a time-bound decision in connection with the physical re-opening of schools and conduct of offline teaching.

"We cannot direct states to reopen schools for physical teaching. We just got out of the second wave. We don't know where the spike is,' the bench said while acknowledging that children need to go back to school but it has to be decided by the states.

The bench said that the court cannot take over governance and decide on these issues.

"The government was wary of exposing children to possible infection. Vaccination has just received a pace. Let governments take a decision," the bench said, adding that it does not have scientific data nor complete information on the Covid spike in the country.

An advocate, appearing for the petitioner, Amar Prem Prakash contended that malls and restaurants have been opened. There were mental and psychological fallouts on the students, he said.

The bench, however, said that children should not be involved in these matters.

'We don't think, we should enter here by judicial mandates," the bench said, asking the advocate to withdraw the petition.

The petitioner said he is aggrieved by the indecision and vacillation on the part of the Centre, and many states and Union Territories in the matter of re-opening of schools and resumption of physical classes with adequate safeguards. Students were forced to take up tuition and coaching classes in the absence of physical schools.

He contended if public places can be reopened for those vaccinated or not why should schools and other educational institutions be not given a priority.

The deprivation of regular school and teaching in the congenial and academic environment of a student's education institution, was leaving an indelible mark on the psyche of the student community. Virtual classes are proving to be not only detrimental to the interests of students, but also tantamount to discrimination and unfair treatment, his plea claimed.
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