Chhattisgarh High Court disposes of PIL against conversion of girls school into an English medium school

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The Chhattisgarh High Court has recently disposed of a Public interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the conversion of the status of Government Girls Higher Secondary School, Abhanpur into English Medium Co-Education School by an order dated 13.07.2021.

In the PIL, the grievance was also expressed that by an order dated 02.02.2022, approved set up of staff belonging to Government Girls Higher Secondary School, Abhanpur has been abolished.

According to the PIL , it is stated that in order to impart education in English medium, the respondent authorities have brought a policy, whereby selected schools across Chhattisgarh have been established, recommended or proposed to be converted into an English Medium School to be styled “Swami Attamanand Government English Medium Excellent School”. The Government Girls Higher Secondary School, Abhanpur was also listed for conversion.

It is stated in the petition that after the decision was taken for conversion of the status of the Government Girls Higher Secondary School, Abhanpur into English Medium Co-Education School, both the schools are running smoothly.

Meena Shastri, Additional Advocate General, submitted that there is already a PIL pending on a similar issue. She has drawn attention of the High Court to an order dated 08.02.2022 and submitted  that in view of the provisions of Rule 80 (1) of the High Court of Chhattisgarh Rules, 2007 the writ petition may not be entertained and the petitioner may be given liberty to place any other facet of the matter before the Court and they may apply for directions in the pending matter.

The petitioners stated that they came to know from newspaper reports that some PILs have been filed raising similar issues but with different facts and difficulties of the concerned school students, their parents and local residents.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Arup Kumar Goswami and Justice Gautam Chourdiya observed that in the order dated 08.02.2022:-

“6. Rule 80(1) of the Rules of 2007, reads as follows : 80(1) If a proceeding in the nature of Public Interest Litigation has already been entertained and is pending no other petition or communication relating to the same matter shall be entertained. Any person wishing to place any other facet of the same matter before the Court, may accordingly apply for directions in the pending matter.”

When the fundamental issue raised in this public interest litigation is same with that of an already pending PIL, name of school hardly has any relevance.

In view of provisions of Rule 80(1) of the Rules of 2007, we do not entertain this petition. If the petitioner wishes to place any other facet of the matter before the Court, he may accordingly apply for directions in the pending matter.

With the above observation, the petition stands disposed of.

In view of the above, the High Court is  not inclined to entertain this petition. However, the petitioners are given liberty to seek directions in the pending public interest litigation.

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