HC notice to Delhi govt, RBI on PIL against auction of Raisina Bengali School

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The Delhi High Court on Monday issued a notice on a PIL filed against the auction of government-aided Raisina Bengali School in CR Park, highlighting that the auction will affect around 900 students, teachers and other staff members.

The bench presided over by Chief Justice D.N. Patel issued notice to all the respondents, including the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Delhi government, Delhi Police’s Economic Offence Wing, among others on the PIL filed by Advocate Khagesh B. Jha for the petitioner Justice for All, an NGO.

The petitioner was surprised to know via a news report about the auction of the Raisina Bengali School, established in 1985, for loan default on January 14, as directed in the order dated November 11 by the Ld. Debt Recovery Tribunal, the plea said.

ASREC India vs Raisina Bengali School directed the auction of the Property of School, to put on E-auction at the reserve price of Rs 81 crore, which would hamper the education of not only the existing students but the other prospective students of the locality, thereby violating the rights guaranteed to the students, under Article 21A of the Constitution, it said.

The petitioner’s present PIL is neither against the government nor against any of the private schools, which has been impleaded as a party, but seeking indulgence from the court to protect the right of students.

The petitioner has filed several writ petitions in the public interest and this court has passed landmark judgments in most of the cases in the interest of children belonging to EWS/DG category in the matter of their admission and also for their entitlements.

The present writ petition is also to bring out the grave error on part of the bank to mortgage the leasehold land of the school, which is unlawful, it said.

As per the PIL, the land is public land and is even protected from the application of SARFESI ACT, 2002. The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) cannot allot a plot to anyone without the sponsorship from the user department of the Delhi government and cannot change the usage of the land without adding the provision of NOC in the lease deed and issuing the NOC contrary to the statutory provisions.

In case of failure of loan repayment, even if the bank sells the property, the balance amount is received by the DDA. The land usage, which cannot be changed directly, is then converted from a school plot into a plot for commercial malls, hotels or multiplexes, thus denying vulnerable and voiceless children of the city their basic rights.

The problem is not only in the case of private institutions but even the civic body running the school, as they are equally involved in the process. The quality of education here is purposely overlooked, so that the students lose interest and drop out soon, and then the unused buildings can be transformed into commercial buildings, the petition said.

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