New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday sought a response of the city government on a plea by an association of private schools which has challenged the provision under the Right to Education Act pertaining to their reimbursement for expenditure incurred on providing education to poor children.
A bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Siddharth Mridul asked the Directorate of Education (DoE) to file its reply while allowing the association's application to amend its initial plea challenging the rule under the Act which requires that free books and uniform be provided to poor children in private unaided schools.
The court asked the DoE to file its reply only to the extent of the amendment made by the association in their plea and listed the matter for further hearing on November 18.
The association has amended its plea to also challenge section 12(2) of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, which lays down how reimbursement is to be provided to schools which admit children belonging to Economically Weaker Sections (EWS).
It has said that reimbursement should be provided on the basis of actual expenditure on uniforms, text books and writing material incurred by a fee-paying student in a private unaided school and not as per the amount spent by the government on a child in their schools and sought quashing of the provision.
The association has contended that the standards of education in private unaided schools are much superior to that in government-maintained schools due to better infrastructure, teaching standards and equipment and this is why the per-child expenditure in such institutions is high.
It has said that the per child expenditure in private unaided schools comes to around Rs 26,000 to Rs 34,000 annually while the government has assessed the same as Rs 15,480 per annum.
The association has filed the application on a PIL filed by NGO Social Jurist seeking grant of free books and uniform to children belong to the EWS category admitted to private unaided schools.
The PIL, filed through advocate Khagesh Jha, has claimed that private schools running on land given by government on concessional rates are obligated to provide such amenities along with free tuition and admission to children belonging to EWS and disadvantaged groups.
The schools have, however, claimed they do not provide books and uniform to any student as the same would fall under commercial activity, which they cannot carry out.
They have also submitted that Delhi government provided reimbursement only to schools which are on private land and no such relief is given to those who have obtained land from the government at concessional or institutional rates.