Parents of four-year-old Narayan (name changed), a student of Navodya Kishore Kendra, were beaming with joy on Friday.
For, the couple, who had been running from pillar to post to ensure that their child who is suffering from a rare skin disorder called Lamellar Ichthyosis continues his studies, finally found some help.
At a two-day public hearing organised by the Karnataka State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR), which concluded on Saturday, a three-member jury urged the school management to admit the child and threatened to recommend to the Education Department to withdraw its affiliation, if they did not comply.
G. Harish, the child’s father, said: “Though we informed the school authorities that the disease is not contagious, they refused to allow the child to study there.”
Defending the school’s stance, Nagesh D.N., science teacher, said around 40 parents had asked the management not to let the child continue in school. “We are helpless. The boy is currently undergoing treatment. Let him come back next year. We will admit him,” he said.
However, the jury ordered that the boy must be allowed to attend classes immediately. Stating that discrimination of a child was a violation of Section 8 of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, Chandrashekaraiah, a former judge of the Karnataka High Court, who is a member of the jury, said: “There is a need to sensitise parents. If they still don’t to understand, give the other children transfer certificate and run the class only for him.”
The jury asked the management to file an affidavit stating that they would allow the boy to study in the school. The jury heard 33 cases in all.
The Commission received around 300 complaints from all over the State related to violations in the RTE act, said H.R. Umesh Aradhya, chairperson.
The complaints were classified into seven categories: denial of admission, denial of entitlement, systematic issues, infrastructure, responsibility of headmaster and teacher, corporal punishment and discrimination. He said that about 60 per cent of such cases were from Bangalore.
Another case was that of a Class 6 student of S.G. International School who is suffering from a neurological disorder. Srinivasmurthy, the father of the student, alleged that the school had discriminated against the child and subjected her to verbal abuse.
After a heated debate between the parents and the school management, the jury ordered that child be admitted into the school. V.P. Niranjanardhya, child rights activist, who was a part of the jury, said physical or mental harassment was a violation of Section 17 of the Act.
While some schools were asked to file affidavits, some others were told to pay compensation for violating child rights.
Mr. Aradhya said the Education Department had agreed to implement the orders delivered at the public hearing.
“We will follow up the cases and ensure that all the orders are abided by the schools by September 30.”