Kerala

Govt. cannot deny permission for upgrading schools: HC

Says it cannot wriggle out of its obligation under the RTE Act

A Full Bench of the Kerala High Court on Wednesday held that the State government could not shirk its duty to establish schools with classes 1 to 5 and classes 6 to 8 in every one km and every three km respectively as specified in rule 6 (1) of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act.

The bench comprising Justice V. Chithambaresh, Justice Alexander Thomas and Justice Ashok Menon made the observation while deciding the upgrading issues of lower and upper primary schools under the RTE Act referred to it by a Division Bench.

The bench further observed that the State government could not wriggle out of its obligation under the Act on the premise that a child could get transfer to another school for completing his or her elementary education and that the head teacher or teacher in charge of the schools where the child had studied should immediately issue transfer certificate.

The court said the State government could not refuse permission to add classes 5 to lower primary schools and class 8 to upper primary schools as a preliminary step under the Act. Restructuring of all schools with uniform classes from 1 to 8 was the scheme envisaged by the Act, which could not be trampled upon by any State.

The bench slammed the government for taking a stand that it was not feasible for upgrading the existing schools or starting new schools and that provision of transportation facilities for students to reach the other school would be suffice.

The court pointed out that the government could not take refuge under rule 6(4) of the rules (provision for ensuring transport facility) from establishing schools for elementary education mandated by the Act and rules

The court observed that a child was not to be treated as a chattel to be tossed about from one school to another for completion of elementary education. The bench also overruled two other Division Bench observations in the Sreya Vinod's case and TKMM LP and UP schools cases.

The Division Benches had held that there was no lapse in the implementation of the RTE Act and that the provision for easy transport of children to another school was sufficient, instead of establishing new schools or upgrading the existing ones.

The Full Bench also ordered the government to deal with the applications given by various school managements seeking to upgrade their existing schools in the light of its observations.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 6:41:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/govt-cannot-deny-permission-for-upgrading-schools-hc/article28358673.ece

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