The Directorate of Education, Delhi government and the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) came under fire from the Delhi High Court Monday, after a plea was filed alleging that lakhs of students studying in classes I-VIII in government-run schools are yet to get notebooks.
“How are students supposed to learn if there are no notebooks for half the year? It is not at all tolerable that 16 lakh students are going to school without notebooks,” said the bench of Justice Manmohan.
The court has now summoned the three parties to personally appear in court and “explain” the process. The bench showed its ire after the Delhi government counsel said funds to provide notebooks was subject to a lengthy process.
The counsel said funds for notebooks would only be released after enrollment of students in schools is completed, and the number of students eligible to get free notebooks and writing material under the Right to Education Act was known. The counsel also said funds were released in August in the last academic year as well.
The DoE gives “money allowance” to students to buy notebooks and writing materials while textbooks are provided directly to them by the school.
The observation was made on a plea filed on behalf of a student of Class IV in an NDMC school, stating that books, uniforms and writing material had not been given to students even though classes began on April 1
The plea, filed by advocates Ashok Aggarwal and Khagesh Jha, also said students in private schools were given the material before the session began and that government school students were being “neglected”.
The bench also asked the government counsel to get instructions from the DoE on a separate plea, which pointed out that an age limit has been imposed for admission to pre-primary and Class I in Sarvodaya schools run by the government.
The notification had been issued by the DoE on February 26 this year, days after the high court issued a stay on nursery admission guidelines imposing an upper age limit for admission to private schools.
Aggarwal and Jha said the DoE had “violated” the judgment issued by the court against the upper age limit. “The court order on upper age limit was issued on February 5. This notification was issued on February 26. They are discriminating against children in government schools,” said the lawyers.
The bench has now asked the government to clarify its stand on the issue on April 25.