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Gauhati High Court rejects plea seeking recognition of all non-government schools in Assam

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The Gauhati High Court has observed that the grievance ventilated by the petitioner be looked into by the State Government keeping in mind the provisions of the Office Memorandum  and take appropriate decision on the same as expeditiously as possible with regard to recognising all non-government private (aided or un-aided), including specified category schools.

The petitioners prayed for the following relief: 
“I. A writ in the nature of Mandamus shall not be issued directing the respondent no.2 & 3 to initiate steps to recognise all non-government private (aided or un-aided) including specified category schools under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. 

II. A writ in the nature of Mandamus shall not be issued directing therespondent no.2 & 3 to initiate steps for all non-government private(aided or un-aided) including specified category schools to obtain recognition from the concerned District Elementary Education Officer by making a self declaration in Form No.1 of the appendix to the Assam Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules, 2011. 

III. A writ in the nature of Mandamus shall not be issued directing therespondent no.2 & 3 to initiate steps to register all non-government private (aided or un-aided) including specified category schools to submit application for registration of their institutions before the Director ofSecondary Education/Director Elementary Education Department (as the case may be) before the commencement of the next academic session of 2023-2024. 

IV. A writ in the nature of Mandamus shall not be issued directing Respondent 2 & 3 to initiate steps to implement Section 6 of the Assam Non-Governmental Educational Institutions (Regulation and Management)Act, 2006 before the commencement of the next academic session of 2023-24. 

V. A Committee be appointed headed by a retired Judge with members comprising from the Respondents No.2, 3, 4, 5 department along with two members appointed from the Petitioner organisation to prepare a report on status of unregistered and unrecognised schools operating in the State and steps to be taken to effectively implement the process of recognition and registration of such schools within reasonable time, to be submitted to the Court for its consideration. 

VI. A writ in the nature of Mandamus shall not be issued directing theRespondents No.2 & 3, during the pendency of this instant petition, tofurnish periodic/timely reports as and when directed by this Hon’ble Courtto apprise this Hon’ble Court regarding compliance of the Elementary andSecondary Education Department with regard to the provisions of Right ofChildren to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009; Form No.1 of the appendix to the Assam Right of Children to Free and CompulsoryEducation Rules, 2011, as well as the Assam Non-GovernmentalEducational Institutions (Regulation and Management) Act, 2006. 
VII. Pass such further or other order, as Your Lordship may deem fit and proper in the interest of justice and to grant complete relief to thePetitioners.”

At this juncture, the Division Bench of Justice Rashmin Manharbhai Chhaya and Justice Soumitra Saikia noted that the very petitioner approached the High court  Court by way of filing PIL  wherein a Coordinate Bench Of the High  Court passed the following order on 16.09.2021: 

“Heard Mr. M. Sarma, learned counsel for the petitioner. Also heard Mr. D.Saikia, learned Advocate General, Assam for the State. 

The present PIL has been filed by the petitioner for a direction to take necessary steps for the implementation of Section 12(1)(c) of the Right to Education (RTE) Act read with Rules 7 & 8 of the Assam Right to Education Rules and Notifications issued to that effect. 
Section 12(1)(c) of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 relates to providing free education by the State Government to the extent of at least 25% of the strength of a class, children belonging to weaker section and disadvantaged group in the neighbourhood of the school. 

Mr. Saikia submits that the Government had already issued the necessary Office Memorandum on 02.09.2021 laying down the details guidelines as regards the benefit which will be offered in terms of the aforesaid provision of the RTE Act. 

In that view of the matter we are of the opinion that nothing survives for further consideration in this PIL and if any person has any grievance with the implementation of the said policy, in terms of the said Office Memorandum on 02.09.2021, it will up to him to approach the appropriate forum in that regard for redressal of his grievance. 

With the above observation the present PIL stands disposed of.”

The Bench noted  that the petitioner has again approached the Secretary, Education Department of the Government of Assam by filing representation dated 02.05.2022 wherein the similar grievances have been raised. 

The High Court on identical and similar prayer has opined that the Office Memorandum dated 02.09.2021 laying down the details guidelines as regards the benefit which will be offered in terms of provisions of the Right to Education Act, has been taken note of and it is provided by the Coordinate Bench of the High  Court in the order dated 16.09.2021 that if any person has any grievance with the implementation of the said policy, in terms of the Office Memorandum dated 02.09.2021, it will be up to him to approach the appropriate forum in that regard for redressal of his grievance, held the Bench.

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