Thursday, September 28, 2023

Delhi High Court orders Directorate of Education to ensure implementation of Right to Education Act with EWS representation in private schools

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The Delhi High Court has directed the Directorate of Education (DoE) Delhi to ensure that Right to Education Act is implemented both in letter and spirit with EWS representation.

The Single-Judge Bench of Justice Chandra Dhari Singh observed that the children belonging to the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) have not been able to exercise their right to get admission in private schools.

The Bench agreed that this was about time the judiciary steps in and make these people avail their rights.

The judge said that it is high time that the judiciary reaches the people. As the poor people are being forced and not able to avail their fundamental rights, given … it is pertinent to exercise powers under 226 to direct the DoE to ensure people of weaker sections get representation in schools.

The Court said this while it was dealing with petitions by 39 students and their parents who were seeking admission to private schools under the EWS quota.

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The contention was that although the students had confirmed admission letters from the DoE, the schools refused to give them .

As per the petitioner counsel not only the admission was denied but also the school gates were literally shut in the faces of the shortlisted students and their parents.

The court replied that we can understand the humiliation faced by the young children and their parents.

He further said that the Court, as a custodian of the Constitution, cannot remain a mute spectator to the outright bulldozing in the field of education.

The Court has ordered that all schools have to ensure that provisions of RTE are followed. It has also said that EWS students shall not be denied admission or treated badly.

The Court added that the Department of Education shall take strict actions against erring schools.In exceptional circumstances, exemption can be granted to a school but the DOE shall ascertain that the reasons are bona fide.

The Court also directed DoE shall ensure that students are shortlisted and notified to be admitted in a neighborhood school within a month.

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The schools raised issue of fraud that is prevalent and being committed by the parents of the students seeking admission, misrepresenting themselves as belonging to weaker section by forging documents and other scrupulous means.

The Court has directed the DoE to carry out necessary screening and seek necessary documents to authenticate the credentials of the child and their parents under RES a category.

The Court clarified that mere suspicion or doubt on the credentials of the candidate on the basis of fact-finding exercise carried out cannot be ground for denying admission.

The court concluded by saying that the schools as such, in the matters of admission under the Act/Rules, cannot bestow upon themselves the roles of the complainant, advocate as well as the adjudicator in such cases.

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Court added that, if despite the due process adopted by the DoE for screening, in case the school, after admitting the child, suspects fraud being committed by the ward or their parents, they can seek recourse to legal remedies as available.

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