New Delhi, November 25: The Delhi High Court Monday said play-schools in the capital, which have been allotted land at concessional rates, will have to admit 25 percent of students from the weaker sections of the society on a free basis.
A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice R.S. Endlaw said that if any school is found flouting this rule, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) will initiate the process of cancellation of the lease. The court's direction came on a plea filed on behalf of NGO Justice for All by advocate Khagesh Jha, seeking directions of admitting 25 percent of students from the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) category in aided and unaided schools that have been granted land at concessional rates.
The bench slammed the government and the DDA for not devising any mechanism for ensuring compliance of the condition on the premise where land much below the market rate was allotted to schools. The Directorate of Education (DoE) of the Delhi government had washed off its hand from the responsibility of ensuring compliance by the schools. It had said that the issue of compliance was between the DDA as the agency which had allotted the land and the schools.
And if the allottee of the land was in breach of any of the terms and conditions, it was for the DDA to take action. On the other hand, the DDA had informed the court that the government was the agency to check and monitor the activities of the educational institutions, and when the government has informed it about any violation of norms of admission of students from weaker sections, action for cancellation of allotment and determination of perpetual lease is taken.
It was, however, said that no complaints were received from the government. "The aforesaid demonstrates a very unfortunate and sorry state of affairs," the court said on the conduct of the Delhi government and the DDA for not devising any mechanism for ensuring compliance of the condition of land given at concessional rates. "The people affected by such an attitude of the respondents (government and DDA) are most in need of education, and for providing which the scheme (allotment of land at concessional rates) was devised," the court said.
It said people who were affected by the attitude of government and the DDA "have very little access to justice too". "It is also not as if the respondents have taken any steps, year after year at the time of admission to schools, to advertise the said scheme so as to make the citizens belonging to the weaker sections of the society aware thereof, to be able to approach the schools who are bound by the said condition." The bench also requested Delhi's Lieutenant Governor, who is also the DDA chairman, to look into the issue and file an affidavit in this regard before March 31, 2015.