Published: 03rd March 2021
Delhi HC seeks Edu ministry's response on plea seeking contempt for not extending RTE beyond 14 years age
The court issued notice to the Secretary of the Ministry of Education seeking a reply to the contempt petition filed by NGO Social Jurist and listed the matter for further hearing on March 17
The Delhi High Court Wednesday sought the response of the Ministry of Education on a plea seeking contempt action against the authorities for not taking a decision on extension of free education under the Right To Education (RTE) Act to children of EWS even after attaining 14 years of age in the same school. Justice Najmi Waziri questioned the Central government as to why decision has not been taken to extend RTE Act beyond the 8th class and upto 12th class, despite court's directions passed in 2019.
The court issued notice to the Secretary of the Ministry of Education seeking a reply to the contempt petition filed by NGO Social Jurist and listed the matter for further hearing on March 17. Advocates Ashok Agarwal and Kumar Utkarsh, representing the NGO, said due to inaction on the part of the Central government, private schools across the country are throwing thousand of Economically Weaker Section (EWS) students out of school every year after they pass class 8th.
The very objective and purpose of the fundamental right to education are defeated if any EWS student is not allowed to continue his studies in private school beyond class 8th and up to class 12, the counsel said. In December 2019, the high court had asked the Centre to take a decision on the extension of free education to disadvantaged children even after attaining the age of 14 years or beyond. The plea sought initiation of contempt proceedings against the authorities for their alleged deliberate and intentional disobedience of December 9, 2019 judgment of the high court.
The plea alleged that a period of more than a year has since elapsed and authorities have not taken any decision in this matter till date and that the parents of EWS category students are not in financial position to pay hefty school fee to unaided private schools in classes 9th and onwards. It submitted that if a student has studied from nursery to class 8th in an English medium unaided private school and is asked to go to the government school in class 9th and onwards, great prejudice would be caused to such student for more than one reason. It added that over one lakh students who would pass class 8th in the academic year 2020-21 will be thrown out of schools on account of financial inability on the part of parents to pay school fees in class 9th and onwards.