Taking note of the delay in implementing directions of the court regarding seats for children with special needs in nursery classes, the Delhi High Court has summoned the Principal Secretary (Education) to appear before it and file a response. A bench of Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice Vibhu Bhakhru summoned him after a contempt of court plea was filed by Pramod Arora, father of a child with special needs.
The court had earlier this year directed the Directorate of Education (DoE) to consider reserving seats for children with special needs in private schools, which could support the education of such children. Under the Disabilities Act 1995, the right to get reserved seats in educational institutions is granted to various categories of disabled persons.
On May 7, the court had taken note of a report submitted by the DoE, which stated that the department had inspected 36 schools out of a list of 44, which had admitted CWSN (Children With Special Needs) in nursery last year. It, however, stated that only 18 of the schools had facilities to educate children with special needs.
The court had, at the time, directed the government to issue a circular within 24 hours to the remaining schools to reserve 2-3 seats each for children with various disabilities. Notices had also been issued to the schools to respond as to whether they would be willing to provide facilities to educate such children.
The government had, however, not taken any steps, prompting the petitioner to file a contempt of court case. During the hearing on Tuesday, senior advocate Kirti Uppal and advocate Anshuman Sahni told the court that the DoE was “delaying the matter until finally this year’s admissions close and the children are unable to secure their rights guaranteed to them under the Disabilities Act”.
“This further goes to show that the DOE and its officials are not ready and willing to take any action in the matter and are deliberately willing to take away the rights of these children with special needs, who despite getting orders in their favour would be suffering on account of willful delay/inaction on the part of the respondents/contemnors,” says the plea filed by Arora on Tuesday.
The plea also alleged that the government had “deliberately and wilfully” not filed a proper status report on the facilities available for CWSN in the capital.
“Inaction on the part of the respondents clearly shows that they have no intention to comply with the orders of this court and the only intention that appears is to make the orders passed in the present writ petition infructuous,” the plea states further. The principal secretary has now been summoned to personally appear and tender an explanation on Friday.