Patna:The Bihar government on Friday assured the Patna High Court that participation in Saturday's human chain, billed as the world's largest, was voluntary and alternative routes are being created to avoid traffic chaos due to closure of national highways and state highways for five hours.
Principal Additional Advocate General Lalit Kishore gave the state's reply to a division bench of Acting Chief Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice Sudhir Singh during hearing of a PIL filed by NGO "Forum for Public Interest Litigation".
The PIL wanted to know under what provision the state government decided to stop traffic on national and state highways for the January 21 human chain programme in support of prohibition.
The counsel for the petitioner, Shahibhusan Kumar, presented before the court a newspaper report which stated that block education officer of Sasaram passed a coercive order that students who do not participate in the human chain programme would be deprived of benefits provided by the state government.
The court directed Chief Secretary Anjani Kumar Singh and Director General of Police P K Thakur to personally appear before it tomorrow to clarify on this and also how media comes under essential services to get exemption for plying vehicles on that day.
Kishore told the court that participation in human chain programme is voluntary and "there is no mandatory order for participation". People are requested to join the programme through appeal, he said.
Regarding participation of school students, he said, the Education Department, which is conducting the human chain, has exempted students below class V from participating in the human chain and participation of students of class V and above is voluntary.
The Nitish Kumar government has planned the gigantic human chain spread across more than 11,292 km involving around two crore people. (PTI)