The Karnataka High Court on Monday directed the State government to give the actual number of out-of-school children in the six to 14 age group.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.H. Waghela and Justice B.V. Nagarathna issued an oral direction to Advocate General Ravivarma Kumar during the hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) petition which the court had initiated suo motu based on a news report about children remaining out of school despite the Right to Education Act.

This direction was issued due to conflicting figures provided by the government and social activist Kathyayini Chamaraj. While the government’s claim was that only 54,000 children are out of school, Ms. Chamaraj, while quoting government statistics, had pointed out that at least 6.28 lakh children are out of school. However, Mr. Kumar submitted that the government would conduct a comprehensive survey to find out the actual number out-of-school children.

Also, the Bench expressed its displeasure over bureaucrats being not aware of schemes aimed at encouraging parents to send their child to school.

“With much difficulty we extracted some information from the bureaucrats,” the Bench told the AG, pointing out that “how parents would come to know about such schemes when officials themselves are not aware of them.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Kumar said the government had announced a scheme to give an incentive Rs. 2 for each day’s attendance for girls in Class I in government schools.

“A girl child attending school for at least 15 days will get Rs. 30 and this, in turn, will ensure 30 kg of rice to the family at the present situation,” Mr. Kumar argued.