The Bombay High Court Monday said a school was not a commercial venture, while coming down heavily on an institute that refused to grant admissions to students from the economically weaker section in its pre-primary classes, despite the 25 per cent quota for them under Right to Education Act.
A bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice A S Sonak was hearing a writ petition filed by the Urn Education Society over the failure of the state to reimburse the school for providing admissions to students under the RTE Act, despite earlier court orders asking them to do so.
According to the society, while they had provided admissions to such children for three years, they discontinued the process from June this year as the state owed them Rs 50 lakh as reimbursements for admissions in Mini KG, junior KG and senior KG in the past three years. The government, meanwhile, threatened to de-recognise them for discontinuing admissions, leading to the society filing this petition.
The High Court has now ordered the school to carry out admissions for the 25 per cent category immediately. “Immediately open admissions. The process should be initiated from Tuesday onwards,” said the Chief Justice. The government is now supposed to provide the school with a list of students still awaiting admissions.
“You have frustrated the process because of your demand for money..It is likely that students still awaiting admissions might not be there anymore,” said the court. The matter has been kept for hearing in the next ten days.
The court questioned what was the children’s fault in all of this. “Are you begging on streets? Are you going to shut down the school due to such a non-payment? Is the government a private party which is running away? We can’t appreciate the stand taken by you. Providing education to such students is a social obligation,” said the Chief Justice.
The petitioner questioned the government’s responsibility in this regard. “This can’t be a one-way journey. The government is defeating the statute by not paying us,” argued the lawyer of the petitioner. The court then said, “You are not a commercial venture operating to make money.”