Updated: January 16, 2021 9:33:53 am
The Bombay High Court on Friday asked the state government to put a curb on “mushrooming of schools and self-financed junior colleges” that flout the laid down norms, and “crack whip” on errant officers along with those who help run such institutions.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni passed an order on a plea 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 as per the Maharashtra Self Finance School (Establishment and Regulation) Rules, 2020.
Last month, 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 the HSC examinations. Thereafter, a provisional index number was granted to five junior colleges run by the Trust in Andheri, Borivali, Sion, Kharghar and Thane.
On January 4, the court had temporarily restrained the state government from granting final permission to five junior colleges run by the Rao Educational Trust.
The bench observed that while the petition was filed with “business interest at the instance of rival Trust” and it should be “immediately dismissed”, the cause espoused in the plea is of immense importance for students across the state.
The court noted that, “Having regard to the interest of students’ community, we wish to remind state government that mushrooming of schools or junior colleges in violation of statutory enactments or rules is not what the people of Maharashtra would like to have therefore it is incumbent on government to keep strict vigil on all such institutions which have been allowed to operate by breaching the statutory requirements.”
It added: “If indeed, the state wants to honor its obligations enshrined in constitution, it is need of an hour that state cracks the whip on errant officers and persons responsible for operating schools or junior colleges in breach of the rules.”
The court ruled, “Since the writ petition is dismissed, all interim applications in the plea disposed of and interim order stands vacated.”
Jaiswal, through senior advocate Anil Sakhare, had also sought cancellation of permissions granted to several coaching classes to set up junior colleges as such self-financed institutions do not comply with eligibility criteria in regard to infrastructure.
In view of this, the court observed that directions, issued by the previous bench in January 2020 staying the permissions to new junior colleges till the state formulates new rules for renewal and approval of proposals by educational institutions, “culminated in framing of new rules which were long overdue”, in October 2020. The dismissal of Jaiswal’s petition will pave way for such schools and junior colleges to run their businesses following due norms.
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