“Don’t expect miracles. India is a huge huge country. There are different priorities. Education is one..Court cannot get into such issues”. This was Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi’s counsel to a lawyer who sought to press a PIL, seeking the court’s intervention to further implement the Right to Education Act.
The apex court had earlier directed the petitioner Akhil Delhi Prathmik Shikshak Sangh, a registered society, to give a representation to the Centre.
On Friday, the bench, also comprising Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph, told advocate Colin Gonsalves who appeared for the petitioner that the Centre had said in its reply to the representation that it was doing the needful on the matter.
Refusing to interfere further, it ordered, “heard counsel for the petitioner and perused the relevant material. We are not inclined to interfere. The writ petition is accordingly dismissed”.
The society had sought implementation of the right to education of children in the 6-14 years age group.
It said children were suffering as government schools are being shut down and around 9.5 lakh posts of teachers are vacant in these schools.
The PIL referred to reports “showing systematic and widespread violations of children’s right to education across the country, including violations of numerous specific requirements of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009”.
Citing statistics, it said there were 14,45,807 government and registered private schools imparting elementary education in the country and as on 2015-16, there were approximately 3.68 crore children who were not in school.
The society requested the court to direct all states and UTs to identify these children within six months to ascertain as to how many of them should be brought in the formal schooling system and to identify “all schools whether government, private, aided or unaided” which did not have proper infrastructure such as all-weather building with at least one classroom for every teacher, barrier-free access, separate toilets for boys and girls, teaching staff and teaching learning material.