SOCIAL JURIST 12/10/2011
National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR),
5th Foor, Chanderlok Building
Janpath, New Delhi-110001
SUB.: LOWERING THE DIGNITY OF THE CHILDREN – STOP BJP TO DISTRIBUTE UNIFORM & BAGS TO MCD SCHOOL STUDENTS BY THEIR LEADERS
It is brought to your notice that Hindustan Times, New Delhi dated 12 October 2011 has reported the following:-
“Revised grants for school children in MCD schools – With the election starting at its face, the BJP leaders of the MCD have decided that they will themselves distribute the uniform and bags grants that the MCD gives to its school students. The education committee has also introduced a new grant of Rs.310/- for uniforms for 48,000 children studying in its nursery schools. Earlier, only students of the primary schools were provided with Rs.500/- for their winter uniform.”
The distribution of essential items to the children in MCD schools is fine and laudable. Our serious objection is to the manner of distribution. The above reported news-item clearly spells out that the uniform and the bags would be distributed by the BJP leaders themselves in full public view. It would be used for political propaganda. In my respectful submission, such practice would not only derogatory to the dignity of the school children most of whom belong to lower strata of society but also tantamount to violation of human rights of these children. It would also violate the Delhi Government Order dated 28.02.2002 banning such practice.
It is submitted that the provisions of Articles 39 & 40 of U.N. Convention on the Rights of the child states that no degrading treatment could be meted out to children. It is submitted that the practice as adopted by the school is violative of these provisions of U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child and hence there is immediate need to prohibit such practice. It is submitted that the Municipal Corporation of Delhi by not adhering to these provisions of U.N. Convention, committing violation of the provisions which they are bound to protect.
It is submitted that the majority of children who come to these schools are from lower strata of society and there is a need to adopt even more careful attitude towards these to instill in them the sense of pride and dignity. These children coming from poor families are deprived of many facilities, which children of rich enjoy. Hence, they suffer from sense of insecurity and if such practices are encouraged, their self-respect will be adversely affected and it would be very difficult to bring them at par with the rest of the society. Facilities of free education, food, shelter, writing material, uniform etc. to the children should be encouraged but not at the cost of their self respect and dignity. Even otherwise, the provisions of free education, food, books, bags, clothing etc. are made at the cost of national exchequer and there is no provision which allows these schools to use these facilities for their publicity benefits.
It is submitted that child receiving sweaters or books or other articles in public view is made to believe that she/he is being given such treatment solely because of their poverty and not as a matter of right. It is a clear-cut violation of human rights of students studying in State-run-schools. It is also submitted that psychological development of such a child is now being damaged. The child from the very beginning is condemned to a mere beggar; needless to say that this will cause a lot of inferiority complex in the mind of the child.
It is submitted that in the past also, it was the routine practice in Govt. /Municipal run schools that distribution of essential items to the children in government and MCD schools are mode of propaganda event by inviting some politician and/or some high government officials. That led me to raise the issue by lodging a formal complaint with the NHRC in January 2001.
It is submitted that the NHRC on 30.3.2001 after perusing my complaint directed “let the complaint be transmitted to Chief Secretary, Government of NCT of Delhi to look into the grievance and take such action as is appropriate in the circumstances.” Thereafter, the Govt. of Delhi, Directorate of Education issued an Order dated 28.2.2002 thereby banning the practice of distributing items to the students in schools in full public view and also banning inviting outside people/officers and making publicity.
It is therefore requested that appropriate steps may immediately be taken to stop the BJP leaders to get the uniform and school bags distributed by their leaders to the MCD schools students in full public view to use for political propaganda.
Ashok Agarwal, Advocate
Advisor, Social Jurist,