The Delhi High Court has sought the response of the Centre, the AAP government and the municipal bodies on a PIL alleging they have not maintained records of children and schools in their areas as required under the RTE Act. A bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal sought a status report from the AAP government after it claimed to have complied with the mandate of the Right to Education (RTE) Act.
The court also issued notice to the Ministry of Human Resource and Development, the education department of the Delhi government and the municipal bodies, seeking their replies to the PIL by September 12.
The order came on the petition by an NGO which alleged that the authorities have “failed” to implement the provisions of the RTE law which requires identification of children up to the age of 14 years in each neighbourhood as well as mapping of schools near them.
The NGO, Justice for All, claimed that the failure of the authorities to carry out the exercise has resulted in several lakh children in the national capital being deprived of education and also drop outs by thousands of students.
The petition, filed through advocate Khagesh Jha, contended that under the RTE Act the local authorities have to prepare the records of each and every child who shall then be linked with the schools near them.
“However, the respondent authorities after seven years of enactment of the RTE Act 2009 and after 15 years of insertion of Article 21A in the Constitution of India have failed to start the process of identification of children and school mapping for them,” the PIL said.
It has said that since the exercise has not been carried out, “great hardship” is being caused to the children belonging to the marginal groups of society as they need to submit various documents at the time of admission to show their neighbourhood as well as economically weaker section (EWS) status.
The requirement for all these documents can be done away with if the authorities maintain proper records of each child, the NGO said.
It sought directions to the authorities to carry out a survey of children up to 14 years of age in a time-bound manner and to also map the schools near each of them.
It further sought directions to the Centre to release the funds for carrying out the child identification and school mapping exercise.