Special Correspondent

School sought continuance on a piece of Govt. land on the outskirts of Jaipur

JAIPUR: The Rajasthan High Court on Tuesday refused to admit for hearing a writ petition seeking continuance of a community school situated on a piece of Government land on the outskirts of Jaipur which has since been reserved for allotment to a private university. The school went to the court after the Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) asked it to vacate the land.

Digantar, a voluntary organisation, has been running the Bandhyali School situated between Kho Nagorian and Bhavgarh Bandhya villages since 1993, offering education to poor children through self-learning method without examinations. The JDA has accused the NGO of grabbing the Government land.

Mr. Justice Dilip Singh Rathore, while refusing to admit the petition, observed that Digantar had not exhausted the alternative remedy of approaching the JDA Tribunal to appeal against the JDA's notice before moving the High Court. The Judge gave one week to the petitioner to file its application in the JDA Tribunal The school was functioning so far under a stay order of the High Court, which had directed the JDA earlier to first consider the school's application for allotment of land, as it had been applying for the purpose since 1997. However, the High Court on Tuesday also rejected a contempt petition, filed along with the main petition, charging the JDA with not complying with the court order.

The Bandhyali School is educating over 300 children, belonging to marginalised sections of society such as Mali, Gujjars and Muslims, free of cost. It was established under a project financially supported by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development.

Though the JDA had asked the school to submit documents and fee on one of its applications made before 2000 for consideration of allotment of land, it suddenly sent a notice to the school last year asking it to vacate the land as it had been reserved for a private university.

Rohit Dhankar, secretary of Digantar, said the JDA had failed to provide any convincing reason to prefer the private university to Bandhyali School despite the fact that the school was in possession of the land while using it for public interest and had applied for allotment much earlier than the private party.

He said Digantar would appeal to the High Court's Division Bench against the Single Bench verdict.