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Rajasthan High Court Directs State To Place Inspection Report Prepared For Mid-Day Meals In Plea Against Violations of RTE Act In Govt Schools

14 Aug 2022 3:34 PM GMT
Rajasthan High Court Directs State To Place Inspection Report Prepared For Mid-Day Meals In Plea Against Violations of RTE Act In Govt Schools

Image: Patrika

The division bench of Rajasthan High Court has recently directed the state to place the inspection reports prepared for mid-day meals in the last three months of at least three schools (zone wise) for the perusal of court.

During the course of hearing, on the issue of sub-standard quality of food, the court was informed that a mechanism for quality of procurement as also for service of good quality of meal is already put in place under which, regular inspection has also been carried out by the higher authorities to ensure that the quality of mid-day meal supplied to the students is not sub-standard but it fulfils the requirements as per sub-standards already fixed.

In this regard, the bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Manindra Mohan Shrivastava and Justice Vinod Kumar Bharwani, observed,

"For this purpose, we would direct the learned State counsel to ensure that on the next date of hearing inspection reports prepared for mid-day meal in atleast three school in the last three months, (zone wise) be placed for perusal of this Court. In respect of each zone (seven zone in total) separate report would be placed for perusal."

The present public interest litigation was initiated suo moto by the court on a letter addressed to the Chief Justice by the Legal Aid and Awareness Committee (LAAC) National Law University, Jodhpur. The case of the petitioners is relating to flagrant violation of the provision of the Right to Education Act, 2009 and further efforts said to be made to hide such violation.

As per the findings made by the Committee, the violation of the provisions of the Act of 2009 is writ large. The Committee members extensively travelled in Jodhpur district to ascertain objective conditions at different Government Schools, specially with reference to the application of the Act of 2009. The conclusion of the studies made by the Committee indicates huge violation of the rights created under the Act of 2009 that ultimately causes injury to the fundamental right enshrined under Article 14 read with Article 21A of the Constitution of India.

On 16 Aug 2017, the court appointed Mr. Rajvendra Saraswat, Advocate who is present in Court as Amicus to assist the Court in the instant this Court.

On 2 March 2020, the court formed a committee comprising three students representative of LAAC, NLU, Jodhpur, Secretary of District Legal Aid Service Authority and District Education Officer (Elementary), Jodhpur and or his representative to call upon and visit all 107 schools originally inspected by the students of National Law University and give a status report with regard to the present status of those 107 schools in particular.

Now, an affidavit has been filed by the respondents stating the details of proposed steps required to be taken for shortcomings pointed out in the survey report.

The Amicus Curiae submitted that some shortcomings like drinking water facilities, washroom facilities, boundary wall renovation work and optimum use of available resources need to be ensured at the earliest.

He also raised an important issue with regard to non-functioning of the School Management Committee. He submitted that because of the Covid-19, the functioning of the School Management Committee also remained paralyzed but now, efforts are on to ensure that regular meetings take place.

In response, the AAG submitted that the aforesaid aspects shall be given top priority and all endeavours shall be made to ensure that the drinking water facilities, washroom facilities, boundary renovation work and optimum use of the available resources is completed within an outer limit of two months.

The bench ordered,

"On the next date of hearing zone wise information of atleast three schools (each zone) would be submitted in respect of the activities carried out by the School Management Committee in respect of the period i.e.16.08.2022 to 30.09.2022."

The court has next listed the matter in the first week of October, 2022.

Adv. Rajvendra Saraswat appeared for the petitioner while AAG Pankaj Sharma and Adv. Muktesh Maheshwari appeared for the respondents. Mr. Pawan Kumar Goyal, Addl. Chief Secretary and Mr. Gourav Agarwal, Director of Secondary Education, Bikaner were also present during the hearing.

Case Title: Legal Aid And Awareness Commt, Nlu, Jodh v. State And Anr.

Case No.: D.B. Civil Writ Petition No. 6815/2017

Click Here To Read/Download Order

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