New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Thursday reserved its order on a petition demanding free books and uniforms for students and children from the poor and disadvantaged sections in private unaided schools in the capital.
A division bench of Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Siddharth Mridul reserved the order after hearing arguments from all the parties.
NGO Social Jurist, which filed the plea, the Delhi government’s education department and the public schools’ association concluded their arguments Thursday after which the bench reserved the order.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Khagesh Jha demanding proper implementation of the provisions of the Right to Education Act to provide free books and uniforms to children from the economically weaker sections (EWS) and disadvantaged groups in private unaided schools.
The plea said unaided recognised schools are bound to provide not only admission but also books, uniforms and other study materials free of cost to students admitted under the 25 percent quota of EWS and disadvantaged groups.
The public schools have objected to giving free books and uniforms to poor children, saying they have not been providing books and uniforms to any of their students and parents have to buy the material from the market themselves.
Delhi government counsel Zubeda Begum, however, said the government reimburses this amount to schools.
“Rs.1,290 per month is being reimbursed to schools for free books and uniforms,” she said.
The public schools’ association, which have been allotted government land on concessional rates, said it has not been provided this sum as reimbursement.
In its status report, the government said that in the past three years (2011 to 2014) about 34,000 children have been admitted to private schools in entry level and of them, only 11,645 have been provided books and 11,281 given uniforms.
That means about 22,300 children have not been given free books and over 22,700 children did not get free uniforms.
The report said that according to information provided by 908 private unaided schools, only 303 schools have been providing free books and uniforms to such students.