Economically Weaker Section (EWS) students might have to shell out their own fee in case they want to study in private schools from the next session.
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed in Punjab and Haryana High Court which was disposed of on Thursday clearly states that 25% seats reserved for EWS students under the Right to Education (RTE) Act included the reserved seats under land clause system.
Private schools have also said that the EWS students who take admission under the land clause quota would have to give normal fee as the land clause itself stated that the school could charge a nominal fee from the underprivileged students.
The education department has also said that although the 'state government pays the school fee of the children reserved under the RTE', the free seats would be open to candidates once the land clause seats are filled.
"The land clauses are different for various schools and some of these did not have the compulsion to admit the EWS students before 1996. The clause itself says the schools can charge a nominal fee from students," said Independent Schools Association president HS Mamik, adding that students will have to pay the fee structure which these private schools would fix as there was no limitation on the fee to be charged under the land clause.
The court had earlier clarified that the total reservation, including 15 % for EWS, will be part of the 25 % under the RTE.
The bench had also made it clear that these private schools would have to fulfill the contractual obligation arising out of allotment of land at concessional rates; and as a part of it reserve 15 % seats for EWS students in all classes.
The reimbursement to be paid to these schools for admitting 25 % EWS students would be decided by the UT administration on case-by-case basis after considering the clauses of their land lease deeds.
Admn vs private schools
The Chandigarh administration and private schools were at loggerheads on the issue of re-imbursement of fee to these schools for admitting 25 % EWS students. Where these private schools were claiming to get reimbursement of all 25% admissions, the UT administration had said these schools were authorised for 10% reimbursement only as they were already under the constitutional obligation to admit 15% students under the EWS quota.
Former Public Instructions director (schools) Upkar Singh had said that schools which were allotted land prior to 1996 would not be included in the 15% reservation and the condition would only apply to schools allotted land after 1996.