Miserable State Of Affairs Prevalent In Delhi At Elementary Education Level: High Court Directs Schools To Ensure Admissions Under EWS Quota

Nupur Thapliyal

16 Dec 2022 5:57 AM GMT

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  • Miserable State Of Affairs Prevalent In Delhi At Elementary Education Level: High Court Directs Schools To Ensure Admissions Under EWS Quota

    Observing that a "miserable state of affairs" is prevalent in the national capital as far as implementation of Right to Education Act, 2009 at elementary education level is concerned, the Delhi High Court on Friday directed all schools to ensure that no child belonging to Economically Weaker Section (EWS) under the enactment is denied admission or treated with a conduct that is...

    Observing that a "miserable state of affairs" is prevalent in the national capital as far as implementation of Right to Education Act, 2009 at elementary education level is concerned, the Delhi High Court on Friday directed all schools to ensure that no child belonging to Economically Weaker Section (EWS) under the enactment is denied admission or treated with a conduct that is unwelcoming of them. 

    Justice Chandra Dhari Singh issued a slew of directions, while disposing of a bunch of pleas concerning the issue of admissions of EWS children in the schools in Delhi. The court said it is important to exercise jurisdiction under Article 226 to issue directions for ensuring children belonging to EWS.

    The petitioners had sought admission of students under the EWS category under Section 2(e) of the RTE Act in various private schools at the elementary level. The students were given letters by Delhi Government's Department of Education (DoE) confirming their admission in the schools under the RTE Act.

    It was the case of the petitioners that despite the children possessing confirmed admission letters from the DOE, the schools refused to give them admission.

    Perusing the scheme of the RTE as well as various judgments passed by courts, Justice Singh directed the DoE to carry out necessary screening to authenticate credentials of the children along with the parents and also verify the facts regarding eligibility while shortlisting, allotting and notifying the children who are eligible fit for admission under the said quota.

    However, the court clarified that such an admission shall not be denied for want of satisfaction of bona fides of the student by the school.

    The court also said that mere suspicion or doubt regarding the credentials of the student "on the basis of fact-finding exercise carried out by the school" cannot be a ground to deny admission.

    The court also directed the schools to ensure implementation of the provision of the RTE Act in full letter and spirit.

    "It is high time that the judiciary reaches the people and not wait for the people to reach out to the judiciary, as the poor kids are being forced in the instant set of petitions to knock the doors of the Court for availing their Fundamental Right to Education," the court said.

    The court also directed the DoE to ensure that all the students shortlisted and notified to be admitted in a neighborhood school shall be admitted at the earliest within one month or within the period prescribed by the appropriate authority subject to the provisions of the RTE Act.

    "In case of erring schools, the DoE shall issue strict directions as may be necessary to ensure the implementation of the RTE Act in a time-bound manner," the court said.

    The court also said that DoE shall not hesitate in initiating the process of de- recognition of the schools which have been found to be indulging in any acts/omissions in contravention of the RTE Act and the Delhi RTE Rules.

    "While we rejoice the Azaadi ka Amrit Mahtosav, on the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of Indian Independence – of liberty from the clutches of colonialism, it is an occasion to relish as well as retrospect. We achieved political independence in 1947, but social and economic independence still evades us," the court said.

    Justice Singh also said that though the right to education has not only been declared a fundamental right of every child, however the State has also been obliged to provide free and compulsory education. It thus added that no authority which falls within the ambit of definition of State as per Article 12 could renege on the constitutional covenant.

    Title: RAMESHWAR JHA v. THE PRINCIPAL RICHMOND GLOBAL SCHOOL & ORS. and other connected matters

    Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 1181

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