A Civil Rights Group
The Director of Education
Government of NCT of Delhi
Old Secretariat Building
November 23, 2012
Subject: Complaint against expulsion of class VIII student Master Akash Paswan by Akshay Pratishthan School, Vasant Kunj
I have received a complaint from Class VIII student Master Akash Paswan, S/o Shri Birju Paswan, R/o 35/9, Kishan Garh, Vasant Kunj, Delhi-110070, Mobile No. 9312599267 against Akshay Pratishthan School, Sector-D, Pocket-III, Delhi-110070, that the school has expelled him on the ground of alleged misconduct and has refused to take the him back in despite repeated requests and apologies tendered. The alleged misconduct pertains to leaving the school premises during school-hours without permission for a short duration on October 19, 2012. I have also personally spoken to the School Principal but the Principal is adamant not take the student back in.
The action taken by the school is clearly violative of Section 16 of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2012 which reads as under:
Prohibition of holding back and expulsion—No child admitted in a school shall be held back in any class or expelled from school till the completion of elementary education.
It is further submitted that the alleged misconduct attributed to the child is of minor nature and it is the responsibility of the school to provide counseling to the child for his mistake. Instead, the school has chosen to wash its hands off and jeopardized the child’s fundamental right to education in addition.
You are requested to direct the school to take the child back in with immediate effect so that his studies can be continued as the child has already been out of school for more than a month.
Ashok Agarwal, Advocate
Advisor, Social Jurist
Shri D. Murgesan
Hon’ble Chief Justice
High Court of Delhi
Subject: School-students’ post-cards from Badli on issues concerning their Right to Education
Under the Social Jurist’s RTE-PIL-postcards campaign, I visited the Badli region of Delhi on Nov. 13, 2012, on the day of Deepawali to interact with school-children residing in that area and discuss their education-related problems. Despite Deepawali, the children gave an over-whelming response. Over a hundred students gathered there to participate in the discussions. Some 53 students wrote post-cards on the spot addressed to you highlighting the problems they face in their schools. Out of these, 34 pertain to Delhi government-run schools, namely (1) Rajkiya Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya, Badli Village, Delhi-42, (2) Rajkiya Kanya Varishth Madhyamik Vidyalaya, Samaypur, Delhi-42 and (3) Rajkiya Varishth Madhyamik Bal Vidyalaya, Badli, Delhi-42 and 19 pertain to (4) MCD Primary School, Sector-18, Rohini, Delhi. These 53 post-cards are enclosed herewith for your kind consideration.
The crux of these post-cards is made out as under:
1. Rajkiya Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya, Badli Village, Delhi-42 (14 post-cards)
The students of this school face the following problems:
Regarding infrastructure and provisions
i) Window-panes are broken, exposing the children to the chilling winter-breeze
ii) Desks are in a damaged state
iii) The mid-day meals are not provided in time. Further, the quality and hygiene of mid-day meals is very poor and insects are also found in the same
iv) Students’ toilets remain very dirty; only teachers’ toilet remains clean. There is no water supply either in the students’ toilets.
Academic and administrative issues
v) Students are asked to broom the classrooms themselves
vi) Some of the teachers come to class but leave without teaching
vii) Students are not allowed to have access to drinking water facility
viii) Some teachers abuse and assault the students.
ix) Some students come from very far and therefore get late occasionally. On being late, they are heavily scolded and made to stand for a long period as a way of punishment
x) Students are made to stand outside the class for the whole period for occasional omission in following the complete uniform code
xi) When any parent brings lunch-packet for the student to school, he/she is returned and not allowed to deliver the lunch-packet to the student.
2. Rajkiya Kanya Varishth Madhyamik Vidyalaya, Samaypur, Delhi-42 (1 post-card)
The student has highlighted the problem of corporal punishment prevalent in this school. The student has complained that the PT Instructor named Suman abuses and assaults the children.
3. Rajkiya Varishth Madhyamik Bal Vidyalaya, Badli, Delhi-42 (19 post-cards)
The students have largely praised the improvements brought in by the new Principal, yet many problems persist. These problems can be clubbed as under:
Hygiene and infrastructure:
i) Toilets remain very dirty and the same are never cleaned. Thus, the students tend to avoid using them. Only teachers’ toilet remains clean.
ii) Drinking water-taps are often dry.
iii) Lots of garbage remains deposited around the water-taps.
iv) Black-boards are damaged.
Academic and administrative issues:
v) Teacher-absenteeism is rampant and students are not taught in school, therefore they tend to flee from the school before the scheduled time.
vi) Teachers usually remain absent from the classrooms and handover charge to the class-monitors who ill-treat and heavily assault children. On complaining to the teachers, the same don’t take any action
vii) Teachers heavily assault students. One of the students has complained about the Science teacher assaulting children without any mistake on their part.
viii) Abusive atmosphere, snatchings and indiscipline among students goes unheeded by the teachers.
ix) Some teachers come to school but do not take classes.
x) As soon as the school gets over, students rush out and start fighting amongst each other. No one monitors their peaceful exit.
xi) Some students bully others; teachers do not address the problem on being approached.
4. MCD Primary School, Sector-18, Rohini, Delhi (19 post-cards)
Following problems are revealed from the post-cards written by the students of this school:
i) Students’ toilets always remain dirty; only teachers’ and Principal’s toilets remain clean. There is also absence of water-supply in the students’ toilets. Students have to urinate in the open.
ii) Insanitary conditions prevail in the school. Dirty water from the toilets seeps alongside the stair-case. Sweepers are employed but they do not work properly.
Infrastructure and provisions
iii) Students have to sit on torn durries as there are no desks
iv) Window panes are broken
v) Fans do not work
vi) Quality of the mid-day meals supplied is also poor
vii) Quality of the mid-day meals supplied is poor
viii) Corporal Punishment
ix) Students have complained about teachers assaulting students. There is also a suggestion of abusive language employed by teachers towards students.
You are requested to take necessary action in the matter so that the students studying in these government-run schools can avail of their fundamental and statutory right of education in letter and spirit.
Ashok Agarwal, Advocate
Advisor, Social Jurist
Parents have informed me that the Faith Academy (Recognized Unaided Christian Minority Senior Secondary School), John L. Dorsey Road, Prasad Nagar, New Delhi-110005 (Phone 011-25748208) has been adopting the following arbitrary, unjust and illegal practice of imposing fines on the students:-
(1) If desk is found broken Rs.3000/-
(2) If student is found without proper hair-cut Rs.1000/-
(3) If student is found without proper nail-cut Rs.1000/-
(4) If suspension of student is withdrawn Rs.5000/-
Parents are requested to write to me at Email: firstname.lastname@example.org if something similar is happening with their wards in the schools.
Ashok Agarwal, Advocate
IMPLICATIONS OF DELHI HIGH COURT JUDGMENT ON KVS ADMISSION POLICY
BY ASHOK AGARWAL, ADVOCATE & SOCIAL ACTIVIST
The impact of the Hon’ble Delhi High Court decision of 09.11.12 (W.P.(C) No. 4194 of 2011 & W.P. (C) No. 801 of 2012) declaring that Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangthan (KVS) Admission Policy 2011-12 & 2012-13 for admission in Class I introducing reservation to the extent of 22.5% for SC/ST in the total 25% seats reserved under Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (RTE Act, 2009) for the children belonging to Disadvantaged Group (DG) & Economically Weaker Section (EWS) is illegal and contrary to RTE Act, 2009 and directing KVS to reframe its Admission Policy in the ensuing Academic Year 2013-14, is not limited to the KVS Admission Policy only. It is also bound to have serious impact on most of States RTE Rules framed in regard to the admission of the children belonging to DG/EWS against 25% reserved seats in unaided non-minority schools in their respective Stated under RTE Act, 2009 and also on the nursery admission criteria guidelines dated 23.11.2010 framed by the Central Government (adopted by Delhi Government on 15.12.2010) in regard to admission of children against 75% seats (General) in unaided non-minority schools.
It is submitted that most of the States through State RTE Rules or Regulations have one way or the other have applied the rule of reservation/ order of preference/ allotment of specified number of seats amongst the candidates out of 25% of seats reserved for children belonging to economically weaker section and disadvantaged group under Section 12 (1) (C) of the RTE Act, 2009. Let us take few illustrations. Andhra Pradesh Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules, 2010 has laid down the order of preference as well as allotted specified seats to different categories of the candidates within the categories of the candidates falling in DG/EWS. The order of preference and allotment of seats are: (i) Orphan, HIV affected and disabled – 5%, (ii) SC – 10%, (iii) ST – 4% and (iv) Weaker Section – 6% (Total 25%). Karnataka Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules, 2012 has laid down that the percentage of allocation across various categories shall be notified by the Government.
It is submitted that the Hon’ble Delhi High Court in the above decision has observed, “No case law needs to be referred to hold that guidelines cannot either override the provisions of the Act or a right conferred under the Act for the matter.” The Hon’ble Court has also observed, “Section 12(1)(c) of the Act does not contemplate any classification among the children belonging to weaker section and disadvantaged group.” The Hon’ble Court further observed, “ A combined reading of the definition of child belonging to disadvantaged group and a child belonging to weaker section and a child with disability as defined under Disabilities Act, 1995 does not permit a further classification from among the children falling under those categories.”
It is very clear from the observations of the Hon’ble Court referred above that the States cannot frame rules and regulation contrary to the provisions of RTE Act, 2009. Therefore, the States which have made any kind of categorization or classification or introduced preference or reservation through framing of Rules or Regulations among the categories embodied in the definitions of child belonging to the Disadvantaged Group or child belonging to the Economically Weaker Section for the purpose of 25% seats reserved for the children belonging to DG/EWS in unaided non-minority schools have to amend the same in the light of the above decision.
There is one more important aspect. The Central Government by its Guidelines dated 23.11.2010 purported to have been framed under Section 35 of the RTE Act, 2009 gives a free hand to all the unaided private schools to frame their own admission criteria based on categorization of the students for admission of children in pre-school (Nursery) or Class I against 75% seats (General). The Government of Delhi has simply adopted the said Guidelines vide order dated 15.12.2010. Pursuant to these Guidelines, the Unaided Schools have framed the nursery admission criteria based on categorizing the children as suiting to the business interest of these schools.
It is submitted that the Social Jurist has challenged the validity of the aforesaid Guidelines before the Hon’ble Delhi High Court on the ground that the same are contrary to the provisions of Section 13 read with Section 2 (o) of the RTE Act, 2009 as much as the same tantamount to “Screening Procedure” which is not only prohibited but is also an offence under RTE Act, 2009. Our contention in the case is that in terms of RTE Act, 2009, all the children have the equal right to be considered for admission in the school and no child can be given preference over the other child on any ground. The case is pending for disposal.
It is submitted that though the above decision is in the context of admission of children against 25% seats reserved for children belonging to DG/EWS but the observations made by the Hon’ble Judges in the decision, in my view, are equally applicable to the admission of children in nursery classes in all unaided non minority private schools against 75% seats (General).
It is submitted that the Hon’ble Court in the above decision while examining the scope of Section 35 of the RTE Act, 2009 observed, “Section 35 can be pressed into service only for the purpose of implementation of the provisions of the Act and not to dilute the right conferred thereunder. Hence, the contention of the school that the classification made pursuant to the guidelines issued under Section 35 of the Act is only liable to be rejected.”
It is submitted that nursery admission criteria being presently followed by the unaided non minority schools would also be hit by the above decision of the Hon’ble Delhi High.
It may also be stated here that since the Hon’ble Delhi High Court has interpreted the provisions of a Central Act, the law laid down therein is legally applicable to the entire country.
A Division Bench of Delhi High Court headed by the Chief Justice has today declared that Clause 5(3) of Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangthan (KVS) Admission Guidelines for admission in Class I introducing reservation to the extent of 22.5% of the total 25% seats reserved for the children belonging to disadvantaged group and economically weaker section is illegal and contrary to RTE Act, 2009 and directed KVS to reframe its Admission Guidelines in the ensuing Academic Year 2013-14.
The Court was dealing with PIL filed by Social Jurist, A Civil Rights Group through Advocate Ashok Agarwal challenging the legality of the KVS Admission Guidelines pointing out that KVS has provided 22.5% reservation to SC/ST category within the 25% reserved quota for children belonging to disadvantaged group (also including SC & ST) which was not permissible under the RTE Act since it translates into “reservation within reservation” and was invalid.
The Court had examined a legal issue of wide ramification as to whether a school falling under the definition of Section 2(n) of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 could apply rule of reservation and allot a specified number of seats to SC and ST candidates out of 25% of the seats reserved for the children belonging to Economically Weaker Section and Disadvantaged Group under Section 12(1) (c) of the Act.
The Court has rejected the KVS arguments that it has powers under the law to introduce reservation within reservation in 25% seats reserved for DG/EWS under RTE Act, 2009. On the other hand, the Court has accepted the arguments of Ashok Agarwal, counsel appearing on behalf of Social Jurist that the KVS has reserved a total 10 seats under 25 percent quota and out of these 10 seats 9 have again been reserved for SC/ST class leaving only one seat to be shared by EWS, handicapped and other disadvantaged groups, which is violation of RTE Act, 2009.
“According to the scheme of the RTE Act, 2009, the reserved category of 25% should have equal weightage for SC/ST, OBC, disabled or children from EWS and they form one homogeneous class and is entitled to equal treatment and no class can have preference over the other. The categories mentioned in Section 2(d) and 2(e) of RTE Act, 2009 form one group/class for the purpose of 25% reservation of seats in KVS for children belonging to disadvantaged group and EWS in terms of Section 12(1)(c) of RTE Act, 2009 and cannot be legally sub-divided or sub-categorized but the KVS has introduced quota within quota thereby 90 percent of seats in 25% seats have been provided to SC/ST students. Such a sub-classification or micro classification of the categories mentioned in Section 2(d) of RTE Act, 2009 which already takes care of SC/ST children is impermissible under the Constitution and contrary to the law”, Ashok Agarwal had contended.
Advocate Ashok Agarwal while expressing satisfaction with the judgment told media that several State Governments while framing the Rules under RTE Act, 2009 have introduced quota within quota in 25 % seats meant for DG/EWS which is illegal and after this judgment, they all have to amend the rules dropping quota within quota.
Ashok Agarwal, Advocate
ALL INDIA PARENTS ASSOCIATION
AGARWAL BHAWAN, G.T.ROAD, TIS HAZARI, DELHI-110054
The Chief Minister of Delhi
Government of NCT of Delhi
Secretariat, New Delhi-110002
Sub: Ban completely all kinds of fireworks during Dewali Festival
You are aware of the fact that the haze that has covered the Capital for the last seven days is still continuing without any sign of retreat. Nilam, the cyclonic storm that originated over the Bay of Bengal and moved towards Tamil Nadu coast is cited as a reason for this untimely foggy weather. The high density of air pollution in the Capital is also cited as a contributory reason.
We are heading for Dewali festival this year. We all know that use of lot of fire-works take place during this festival season. Keeping in view the conditions having been created by the unabated haze over the Capital, it would not be at all in the interest of the health of the people here to allow use of any fire-works during Dewali festival this year.
We, therefore, request you to consider for total ban on the use of fire-works during Dewali Festival this year and request you to issue necessary orders immediately in this regard.
Ashok Agarwal, Advocate
National President, AIPA