Friday, August 19, 2022

30-yr wait ends as Kerala HC orders state to build primary school in village

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Thirty years of strife has finally seen some light of day for the Elambra, Manjeri Municipality of Malappuram district in Kerala. It was for so long that villagers had been waiting for a primary school here, but nobody cared. On July 29 the Kerala High Court put balm on the people’s pin when it ordered the government to sanction establishment of a government lower primary school there.

The directive of the court came after it heard a PIL filed by one of the residents of Elambra, T. Muhammed Faisi. 

The petitioner had said that there are no primary schools within a 3 km radius in this area and for the last 30 years local residents have tried to get one there.

He said he had approached the Kerala State Human Rights Commission, which after conducting an enquiry, directed the Director of Public Instructions to take urgent steps for opening of a school. That order is now four years old and nothing has happened.

Opposing this PIL, the government contended that the petitioner cannot rely on the directions of either the Human Rights Commission or the Commission for Protection of Child Rights. Starting new schools is the policy decision of the government and individual requests cannot be considered. Moreover, there are schools existing in the nearby places and there was no need for establishing a government LP school in the Elambra area.

The bench of Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. Chaly first dealt with the issue of whether Right to Education for children is a human right. The bench held that Right to Education for Children under Article 21A of the Constitution of India is a human right.

Addressing the contention raised by the government about ‘school mapping’, the court observed that Rule 14 of the Kerala Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules, 2011 referred to by the Government, affidavit, applies to recognized private schools and not a government school. In this regard, the court has referred to a full bench judgment. 

Allowing the writ petition, the bench also directed Manjeri Municipality to take urgent steps for construction of necessary buildings for the school.

-India Legal Bureau

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