Francis Santamaria who has been fighting a legal battle over expulsion of his seven-year old son a year ago from St Vincents School for allegedly flouting the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act 2009,has been told by Bombay High Court that the petitioners son Shaun being already admitted to another school there is no ground for the petition.
The court,however,said the petitioner had the liberty to adopt appropriate proceedings for compensation.
Speaking to Newsline about the verdict on Thursday,Francis said he was compelled to move his ward to another school to save an important academic year. I was fighting for the right of my child,and not for any compensation. I am not going to give up the fight. I am planning to move the apex court, he said.
Francis said his son has a certain speech problem due to thick tounge and cannot pronounce some words clearly. He was studying at St Vincents School and secured fair ranking in Upper KG last year. Despite that,the school faculties told us to take him out of the school due to his speech problem,which they termed as a physical disability. They said either I make him repeat class or I take him out of the school. I chose the latter as I did not want him to lose a year, he said.
An aggrieved Francis and his family members decided to knock at the doors of the judiciary after not getting the desired help from different public authorities and redressal machinery. He had approached the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights,the Maharashtra State Commission For Protection Of Child Rights,and the Pune Zilla Parishad education officer,the nodal agency for RTE implementation in the district,among others with his complaint regarding Shauns forced exit from St Vincents School. While NCPC and Zilla Parishad took cognizance of Franciss complaint,the school did not show any positive response,and therefore we decided to opt for another school, he said. He said even if he would have been readmitted there could have been a possibility of the school authorities victimizing his son. Francis said he decided to file a petition to protect the rights of his child,after admitting him to another school.
Human rights lawyer Asim Sarode,the counsel for the petitioner,said the High Court did not find any ground for the petition and sought its withdrawal. According to Section 16 of the RTE Act,no child admitted to a school shall be held back in any class or expelled from the school until completion of elementary education. But this Section was clearly violated by the school along with certain fundamental rights while expelling Shaun, Sarode said.