After being told by the Delhi High Court to explore the possibility of supplying school bags to students of primary classes, the Delhi government has said it cannot give school bags as the same does not find a mention anywhere in the Right to Education Act.
“So far as supply of bag is concerned, it is pertinent to mention that the answering respondent (Directorate of Education, Delhi government) has no proposal to supply school bags or cash in lieu of bag, in addition to text books, writing material and cash subsidy for uniform since the Right to Education Act nowhere envisages any provision for supply of such school bag,” the government said in an affidavit filed in the court.
The affidavit was filed after the court asked the government and also the Municipal corporations to explore the possibility of providing school bags to nearly 16 lakh students in primary classes.
The court said so after three minor students knocked at the doors of the high court with a prayer that they be provided study material including text books, notebooks and stationery.
Their petitions through advocate Ashok Agarwal brought to light the ground reality where students of primary classes in government and municipal schools were not given any study material and uniform despite the academic year nearing its end.
While the government functionaries acted after being pulled up by the court, Mr Agarwal had suggested in the court if the students can be given school bags as many don’t have any to keep their books.
While denying to supply school bags, the government claimed in its affidavit that it is supplying to all students from class I to VIII a complete set of textbooks and support material, cash in lieu of writing material/ stationery, cash in lieu of uniforms.
It said the practice of cash subsidies provides students the freedom of choice to procure material of their choice and it is proving to be fruitful as students have started attending school in tidy uniform and with notebooks and material prescribed.
Read the Affidavit Here