Giving stern directions in order to ensure compliance of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, the Punjab and Haryana high court has ordered all schools in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh to comply with Section 18 of the Act that makes registration of schools compulsory.
The court also directed government authorities to file reports on the number of registered schools within their territories.
The directions came from a division bench comprising justice SK Mittal and justice TPS Mann on a bunch of petitions filed by two NGOs -- Anti Corruption and Crime Investigation Cell and All India Crime Preventing Society; and students of Sita Grammar School, Malerkotla.
During the hearing of the case, the bench was told that in Punjab alone, there were around 3,800 unregistered schools out of a total of 9,800.
As per Section 18 of the RTE Act, "No school, other than a school established, owned or controlled by the appropriate government or the local authority, shall, after the commencement of this Act, be established or function, without obtaining a certificate of recognition from such authority, by making an application in such form and manner as prescribed."
The Act further says that on contravention of the condition or recognition, the prescribed authority shall withdraw recognition of the school by a written order.
The petitioners had approached the high court against the unjustifiable fee hike by schools every year and stating that the students were also being forced to buy school uniforms and stationary from school shops.
On an earlier date of hearing, the high court had restrained all schools from enhancing fee and other charges except with the prior permission of concerned education boards like Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) and Punjab School Education Board (PSEB).
The court had also directed the two states and Chandigarh to ensure that no books other than prescribed by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) are forced to be used in schools affiliated to CBSE.
Regarding earlier high court directions to school education boards to submit their replies, the latter sought more time from the court on Monday to file their reports.