April 19, 2013 , Chandigarh : “Schools are bound to admit students in the EWS category in each and every class and not just in first or entry level class. Chandigarh Administration is acting corruptly and illegally against public interest to benefit private schools and thereby trying to wrongly suggest that admission under EWS or RTE category is limited only to the entry level class,” members of Citizens’ Voice emphasized this during a public interaction at Lala Lajpat Rai Bhawan today.
Social activist Hemant Goswami asserted that, “The law allows the Government to move the court for change of the trustees and/or members of a public charitable society, if the society/trust managing these private schools are not following the statutory provisions and/or are not working in the interest of the public. The land alloted to various so-claimed charitable societies/ trusts running these schools should be cancelled and the Government should take over their management.”
Hemant further informed that soon various citizen groups would be moving ‘Contempt of Court’ petition in the High Court against officers of Chandigarh Administration as well as the Schools for violating the High Court order which clearly mentioned that 15 percent students from economically disadvantaged section of the society have to be admitted in each and every class being run by the School; i.e. the EWS category, which comes to be 15% of the total strength of the students in a school.
Earlier last year, on April 25th 2012, the High Court while disposing off a petition by ‘Independent Schools Association’ ordered in para 11 of the judgement that, “15% quota would mean 15% of the students to be admitted to each class in a year. In other words, the quota of 15% is not required to be maintained at the entry level alone. It has to be maintained in the subsequent classes as well.” The High Court in the para 3 of the judgement also noted that prior to the Chandigarh Rules, the Delhi Education Code was applicable to allotment of lands for school. As per Delhi rules, 25% seats have to go to EWS in lieu of the land allotted to schools. Hemant Goswami has already issued a legal notice to the Chandigarh Administration officers, including the Administrator and the Education Secretary alleging contempt of the court and corruption within administration.
Nitin Goyal,an Advocate and a social worker, pointed out that the private schools have been trying to escape from admitting EWS students on flimsy grounds just to save their elitist tag. The provisions of the RTE Act are quite clear and the rules are water tight. All the private schools are being run by registered charitable trusts/societies with a bounden duty to promote education among the disadvantaged sections. The teacher-pupil ratio in most Government schools is already disturbed; hence the students from such government schools should be shifted to private schools where EWS seats are still vacant, instead of allowing the private schools to sell the seats to the rich by converting them into general category.
Nitin Goyal further said, “most of the states have started taking tough action against private schools violating RTE Act, but UT administration has still been trying to persuade the violator schools, which sounds comical since the schools have already blatantly refused to fulfill their obligations. A show-cause notice was issued to Vivek High School around March 20 for namesake, but no action was seen thereafter. The administration must withdraw the recognition of all these schools, and resumption proceedings must be initiated too.
Adding to this Hemant mentioned that the private schools/ individuals have no right on the 15% seats reserved for EWS (and overall 25% seats under RTE) as the same is meant to fulfill the public-cause and in-a-way these seats can be considered as the perpetual return to be paid by the allottee-school to the government in return to the concessional/ special-low-rates land alloted to the school by the Government. In case the school converts any seat in that 15% to the general category, the schools can not claim any right on the fee charged against that 15% as it belongs to the government. “The government should recover with interest the money charged by these school against any seat meant for EWS or RTE and subsequently converted to general category.” Hemant emphasised.
Sunny Mehta of NSUI, said that students of Punjab University have formed a group to fight against the private schools who are not following the provisions of RTE. “Our teams are visiting the colonies, the schools as well as meeting the Chandigarh Administration to ensure effective implementation of RTE legislation. In the coming days we will also hold admission camps outside private schools,” Sunny added.
Bhavpreet Dhatt, a member of Citizens Voice mentioned that hundreds of students, previously admitted under EWS/ RTE schemes, in many Convent and other private schools have either been removed from rolls or full fee is being charged from them. Such action by the schools was in violation of the Supreme Court and the High Court orders which has clearly said that Students already admitted were not to be disturbed. “We would be moving the court against such schools and Chandigarh administration,” Dhatt added.