Monday, July 12, 2010

RTE Postcard Campaign - More Students write to Chief Justice of Delhi High Court highlighting violations of their Right to Education


A Civil Rights Group


Hon’ble Shri Dipak Misra
Chief Justice
Delhi High Court
New Delhi-110003

July 12, 2010

Subject: Grievances of children studying in Government Schools and MCD Schools relating to serious violations of their Right to Education

Respected Sir,

In continuation of our earlier letter dated 27.05.2010, we have the honor to bring to your kind notice the further serious violations of the Constitutional and the statutory rights of the children to free and compulsory quality elementary education as envisaged in Article 21 (right to life with dignity) and Article 21-A (right to education) of the Constitution of India and in Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 which have come to light during RTE POSTCARD CAMPAIGN on 04.07.2010 at the Bharat Ghar, Sector 15, Dwarka. Over more then 65 students and parents residing in J.J Colony,Bharat Vihar, Sector 15, Dwarka, and studying in different government schools and MCD Primary Schools in the neighbourhood schools gathered and wrote on the postcards addressed to you highlighting good and bad characteristics of their school and seeking your lordship’s intervention for realization of their rights. It is submitted that the campaign was organized by the Social Jurist, a civil rights group in collaboration with Aadhikar – a Dwarka Group of Volunteers with CRY (Child Rights And You). The Social Jurist consists of a group of lawyers and social activists dedicated to the cause of common man and particularly of the children. CRY is An Indian NGO that catalyses change in the lives of underprivileged children in India by restoring their rights. Aadhikar group of volunteers in Dwarka is a network of residents, professionals and students who believe every child has the right to enjoy their basic rights and conduct activities that range from creating awareness on child rights issues, advocacy in their own sphere of work or building locality based efforts to tackle the issues affecting children and their communities. In the larger scheme, the children were grateful that an education facility is available. However, it is also important to highlight the problems they face so that efforts are made to change for the sake of improvement. As many as 65 postcards are attached hereto for your kind perusal and consideration. A collation of the postcards information done by the Aadhikar Group is also attached for your easy reference.

Although the historic Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 which came into force on April 1, 2010 ensures that children between 6-14 years have access to free and quality elementary education, it must be realized that legislating laws is only half the work done. The government has made a promise to millions of children and it is necessary to ensure that the concerned authorities constantly assess the factors that go into preventing the children from attending school. The government and local authorities are obligated to provide schools, set benchmarks, rules of implementation etc regarding various provisions of the Act. The government has to work towards restoring the sanctity of the childhood of school-going children as well as out of school children, including children with disabilities.

It is understood that the Act aims at those who are not privileged enough to exercise their right to quality education. It has become crucial to inculcate equality in our society where large scale disparity prevails. Therefore, every child is equal before law and all of them should have access to the same quality of education. The responsibility of the concerned authorities does not end at bringing such children to school, the essence of the Act is that they actually attend school and complete their elementary education.

It is submitted that many children had a problems with lack of infrastructure facilities. Most of the government schools still do not have the most fundamental requirements like fans, furniture, doors, clean bathrooms etc. The cases of the students surveyed are telling testimony to this lack of essential facilities. (1) Sana, a student of Class VIII, Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya, J.J Colony, Kakrola, complains that her school environment is unhygienic since the garbage is rarely cleared. Another student, (2) Mohinee, Class VII, Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya, J.J Colony, Kakrola, complains that their bathrooms are very dirty. It is extremely crucial to maintain hygiene in a study environment; children should not be ill and falling behind their attendance. It is relevant to submit that one of the major causes of large scale drop-out of the girl students is lack of hygienic toilet facility in the schools. The infrastructure in some of the schools is incompetent and will not be able to withstand the sudden growth in demand that the Act has created. (3) Kuresa, Class VI, Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya, J.J Colony, Kakrola, attends classes which are carried out on the ground. (4)Another student, Jyoti, Class VI, Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya, J.J Colony, Kakrola has complained that they are exposed to open dust while their classes are carried out on the ground. (5) Sana, a student of Class VIII, Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya, J.J Colony, Kakrola has complained that there are as many as 100 students in her class, which has disrupted the student-teacher ratio of the classroom and (6) Priti, Class IV, Nagar nigam School, Kakrola has also complained that there are no lights and fans in their school.

. Although a large number of teachers will be required to cater to the growing demand, Another aspect that requires attention is the quality of the teachers being recruited by these schools. The concerned authorities should have certain standards and norms for recruitment it certainly does not mean that anyone who is qualified will become a teacher. Teachers should be an ideal role model for their students. Teachers should be punctual and encourage curiosity. It is unfortunate that the teacher of (7) Taswar, Class III, Nagar Nigam Adarsh School, Kakrola beats the students and uses abusive languages-. Another interesting issue raised by (8) Simran, Class II, Nagar Nigam School, A-58, Bharat Vihar was that of monitor of the class bullying other students and also sometimes beating them. Are the teachers not paying any attention to this? This violates S. 17 of the Act which condemns physical and mental harassment of the child. On the other hand, teacher of (9) Shivani, Class III, Nagar Nigam School, Bharat Vihar, makes them clear garbage in school. Why is not anyone keeping a check on the behavior of these teachers? This is an unfortunate state of affairs. Should access to education of children come with the penalty of cleaning the school themselves?

Every child should be encouraged to indulge in co-curricular and extra curricular activities regularly. This gives them the opportunity to develop their interest and take their mind off academics. It is unfortunate that the school of (10) Vinod, Class IX, Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya, J.J Colony, Kakrola does not have a playground and (11) Mansi, Class V, Nagar Nigam Bal Vidyalaya, Bharti Vihar cannot play or recreate because they are not allowed to play. Another problem that requires immediate attention is the Mid Day Meal scheme at these schools. (12) Mansi, Class V, Nagar Nigam Bal Vidyalaya, Bharti Vihar and (13) Puja, Class VII, Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya, J.J Colony, Kakrola complain of the lack of food in their schools, they further say that those who distribute the food end up consuming more. The problems do not end here; many schools still do not have access to water and electricity etc.

Grave violations of the Act are taking place everyday. (14) Sana, Class VIII, Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya, J.J Colony was asked to take an admission test, which according to Section 13 of the Act cannot take place, she was deprived of admission in one of the neighboring schools inspite of having cleared the test. It is unfortunate that the school authorities are the ones troubling parents when it comes to admission. One would expect them to provide the correct information, however they have made a mockery of the system by not admitting (15) Manisha, 12 years old girl, wants to go to school but she was refused admission in Nagar Nigam School. There are many children like Rizwana, Vimla Devi who have constantly attempted to get admission in neighboring schools and they have failed. Parents should be encouraged to come forward and complain, it is the only way the system will be regularly assessed.

The following problems were highlighted in the postcards:


a) Several parents of children seek admission in Nagar Nigam school but school denies admission. One ground for denial is that children residing in JJ Colony will not be admitted to MCD school.

b) A student gave admission test on 20th April 2010 and passed out but she was yet not given admission in neighboring government school.

c) The school struck off the name of a student who went to his village and came back later and readmission has been denied by the school.


a) Illegible postcards – most of the children could not write clearly and some were even unfilled showed the lack of proper grooming of the children at school.

b) Student teacher ratio - Most schools violate the prescribed student-pupil ratio of 30:1 and hence the teachers don’t give all her students individual attention.

c) In - operational computers - Schools have computers but they don’t work and schools do not have teachers for teaching computer to students.

d) Irregular / Absent Teachers - Computer teacher never comes to school.

e) Other subject teachers are also not regular.

f) Books supplied late to students


a) Toilet block

i. Many schools do not have toilet facility.

ii. Most schools have dirty washrooms.

iii. Students are forced to clean toilets.

iv. The toilets are locked.

v. Washrooms are not constructed.

vi. Students have to go out instead of using dirty toilets.

b) Impure drinking water

i. No drinking water in school.

ii. Impure/ dirty water supply in school.

iii. Drinking water in school is salty and unfit for drinking.

iv. There is a case where students have found insect in the water.

v. Drinking water is rarely given in school due to which students carry their own water bottles.

c) Irregular Electricity

i. Fans and lights not working due to which children are uncomfortable in summers.

ii. Frequent power cuts

d) Shortage of desks and tables for children

i. Less numbers

ii. Most are broken and in bad condition

iii. Children forced to sit on ground or dari

iv. Children move desks from here and there and get hurt

e) Non functional Water coolers, irregular supply of water.

f) Lack of classrooms – students made to sit in tents or in open ground. Children get discomforted in the heat and when dust particles enter their eyes.


a) Unhygienic food - There is a case where students have found pieces of stone in the food.

b) Food supplied is unhygienic and not fit for eating and children have found insects in the food.


a) Absence of sports facility and materials

b) If available, Sports accessories are not provided to students or students not allowed to use them

c) Playgrounds do not exist, and if they do exist, no swings or facilities for play


a) Teachers beat students and there is even a case of teacher grabbing student’s throat.

b) Teachers use abusive languages in class.

c) When students come late to school, teachers ask them to pick the garbage.

d) One of the reasons of corporal punishment is overcrowded classroom because the same is not possible to be managed by the teachers.

e) Students are instructed by teachers to clean classes and pick garbage from the floor.

f) Students pay for cleaning - Students have to give money for the payment of school staff responsible for cleaning. Students pay upto Rs.20 for broom and cleaning stuff for classrooms.

g) Teachers beat students.

h) Some children said that the monitor of their class bully other students and also sometimes beat them.

7. LACK OF SECURITY AND SAFETY - No red light or speed breaker in front of the school, there have been cases of accidents in the past.

8. STUDENTS FORCED TO TAKE UP SANSKRIT SUBJECT INSTEAD OF ENGLISH - Children’s choice to study in English is ignored by the school and one student scored 40% in the previous class and yet was denied English as a subject in class XI. The sole reason behind such a denial is to show good results of the school at the cost of student’s career. It is happening with thousands of students in Delhi government schools.

The above stated are only a fraction of the problems. It is unfortunate that access to education has been a constant struggle for the unprivileged and disempowered. The State was expected to bring all the children into school within ten years of the commencement of the Constitution but miserably failed. Unnikrishnan’s landmark judgment (1993) of the Hon’ble Supreme Court declaring right to education a fundamental right of every child has never been implemented. Now Article 21-A has been inserted in the Constitution which mandates State to provide free and compulsory education to all the children in the age group 6 to 14 years. Now that the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act of 2009 has been passed and come into force w.e.f. 01.04.2010. It is submitted that despite all these legislations and assurances, the children of the masses are continued to be deprived of their right to quality education. The need of the hour is to inculcate an accountability system wherein anyone who disobeys the protocol laid down by the Act will be answerable.

We, therefore, most humbly request you, Sir, to kindly take cognizance of these postcards and initiate appropriate proceedings against both the State Government and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi to redress the just, legal and bonafide grievances of the students of these schools relating to serious violations of their right to education.

Thanking you.

Yours Sincerely,

Ashok Agarwal, Advocate

Advisor, Social Jurist


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