SC seeks Gujarat’s response on admission of poor children

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New Delhi, July 3 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday sought Gujarat government’s response to the plea seeking admission to children belonging to disadvantaged and weaker sections of society.

The plea seeks to fill up 63,610 seats under the Right to Education Act. The seats have been held back by fudging of number of students in each of over 9,000 schools.

The bench of Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud issued notice that is returnable next week as senior counsel Colin Gonsalves told the court that “a good number of schools were showing zero intake of students in the first standard to frustrate 25 per cent admission to children belonging to weaker sections and disadvantaged groups”.

He said that while schools were showing zero intake, in fact they were admitting the students and not showing it to frustrate the provision of the RTE Act that mandates 25 per cent admissions to children belonging to weaker and disadvantaged sections of society.

“The modus operandi followed by the over 9,000 schools in Gujarat in order to avoid ensuring that 25 per cent of the strength of each class is of children belonging to the weaker sections and disadvantaged groups, is to hide the strength of the class i.e. the total number of children in a particular class”, the court was told by petitioner Sandip Harshadray Munjyasara.

Appearing for the petitioner, senior counsel Colin Gonsalves said: “If the total strength is understated, then the 25 per cent is also understated and the schools are then able to violate the mandate of the Right to Education Act by admitting very few children belonging to the weaker sections and disadvantaged groups.”

Munjyasara has challenged April 20, 2017, order of Gujarat High Court, that declined his plea.

Besides other prayers, he has sought direction to the Secretary, Gujarat Education Department, to furnish the list of the schools in the state together with the sanctioned strength of Class I of each school and the actual enrolment of each school in Class I for academic years 2014-2015, 2015-2016, 2016-2017 and 2017-2018.

The petitioner has also sought the list of the students enrolled in four academic years belonging to general category and those belonging to weaker sections and disadvantaged sections.

He has also sought direction to the Gujarat government to ensure that the enrolment of Class I students in every school was not less than the sanctioned strength for the Classes 2 to 8.

–IANS

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