New Delhi, Aug 27 IANS | 3 months ago

The Delhi High Court Wednesday pulled up the city government for failing to provide adequate textbooks and uniforms to children from poor and disadvantaged families studying in private schools here.

A division bench of Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Siddharth Mridul took strong objection to an affidavit filed by the education department, as per which around 51,000 of these children were without textbooks and uniforms.

In an affidavit filed by the Delhi government, it was stated that 68,951 children from the EWS (economically weaker section) and DG (disadvantaged group) categories were studying in these schools in this academic year and, as against this, only 17,497 children were getting free uniforms are 16,467 were getting free textbooks.

Going through the affidavit, the bench said: "This means roughly 51,000 children are without textbooks and uniforms."

The bench said that in view of the Right to Education and rules made under the Delhi Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education, 2011, this position of not providing sufficient textbooks and uniforms to EWS and DG categories was "wholly unacceptable".

"It is the duty of the government as well as the schools to ensure that free textbooks and uniforms are made available to EWS and DG category students," the bench said.

The expression used in the affidavit (filed by the government) that there was a fixed amount for uniforms was "not acceptable" as they are supposed to ensure that children are provided with uniforms, the court said.

Posting the matter for Sep 17, the court asked the education department to submit the cost of textbooks from Class 1 to 8 as per the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) syllabus.

"The government shall also indicate total cost of uniforms of a child for each class starting from 1 to 8 for both winter and summer," the bench said.

The court had earlier asked the government to file a status report on the number of students in the 6-14 age group in this academic year in schools in both categories as well as the number of students given free books and uniforms.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Khagesh Jha demanding proper implementation of the provisions of the Right to Education Act to provide free books and uniforms to children from the EWS and disadvantaged group categories in private unaided schools.

The plea said unaided-recognised schools were bound to give not only admission but also provide books, uniforms and other study materials free of cost to students admitted under the 25 percent quota of EWS and disadvantaged groups.

(Posted on 27-08-2014)

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