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HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, November 12, 2013
The Punjab and Haryana high court, while hearing a bunch of petitions challenging the mid-session closure of various private schools operating across Punjab, issued a notice of motion to the state government for November 19. The petitions filed by 16 schools of SAS Nagar, Bathinda, Mansa and Rupnagar came up for hearing before the court headed by justice Rakesh Kumar Jain. The state government had directed around 219 private schools up to the level of Class 12 to close down last month, with observations that they were not fulfilling the mandatory conditions.

Appearing for the petitioner schools, advocate Ranjivan Singh argued that as per rules, the order of withdrawal of recognition shall have to operate from the immediately succeeding academic session and no school can be ordered to be closed down in the middle of the current session. The court was told that the state government's action had left a large number of students in the lurch.

The schools, in their petitions, submitted that they were functioning in the state since long and were duly associated with the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB). It was submitted that the PSEB had also granted them recognition for the 2013-14 academic session under rules formulated by the Punjab government in view of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Educational Act, 2009.

The petitioners added that the recognition was granted subject to the fulfilment of certain conditions under the Right To Education (RTE) Act, 2009, and the rules framed therein, and the schools were in the process of removing shortcomings as pointed out by the education department.

But they were abruptly ordered to be closed down without affording any appropriate opportunity of being heard, it was contended.