The Bombay High Court on Monday restrained the state school education department from granting final permission to five junior colleges run by the Rao Educational Trust to operate in Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni passed an order on an interim application filed by Manju Ramesh Jaiswal, a Mumbai resident and trustee of an educational trust, seeking a stay on a December 18 order that granted Rao Educational Trust time till academic year 2021-22 to comply with infrastructural requirements of junior colleges.
Jaiswal raised concerns over permissions granted to several coaching classes for setting up junior colleges on the ground that such institutions do not comply with eligibility criteria in regard to infrastructure. For example, such institutions should come up on 500 sq m plots on ownership or leasehold basis as per the Maharashtra Self Finance Schools (Establishment and Regulation) Act, 2012.
Jaiswal sought cancellation of permissions granted for starting such junior colleges and urged the court that the state be restrained from granting any new permissions to self-finance junior colleges without complying with the provisions.
Earlier, state Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad had directed officials to take steps to grant an index number to the Trust, so that 672 Class XII students can appear for HSC examinations. Thereafter, a provisional index number was granted to five junior colleges run by the Trust at Andheri, Borivali, Sion, Kharghar and Thane.
Senior counsel Anil Sakhare, appearing for the petitioner, told the court that the minister had no authority to pass such an order and it was contrary to earlier orders passed by the HC, restraining the government from considering any plea to start a new school or granting permission for additional classes.
In November last year, HC had modified its order and allowed the state to consider 410 pleas of existing schools after the government submitted that the applications will be dealt strictly as per the Maharashtra Self Finance School (Establishment and Regulation) Rules, 2020.
On Monday, the bench noted that the Trust is yet to satisfy all conditions and granted it liberty to comply with the same. It observed, “Prima facie, we doubt whether a provisional index number could have been granted to the Trust before it received the final permission from the education minister. We, therefore, direct that the provisional index number that has been granted shall not be acted upon until further orders of this court.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines