Pulling up the Haryana education department for delaying granting benefit under the Haryana School Education Rules, a division bench of the Punjab and Haryana high court directed the principal secretary, education, Surina Rajan, to submit a detailed report as to what is the criterion for the selection of students being admitted in private schools under the 10% quota.
The division bench comprising justices Surya Kant and Shekher Kumar Dhawan directed Rajan to file the report by October 9, during the resumed hearing of the petition seeking implementation of Rule 134-A of the Haryana School Education Rules, which says that 10% students would be admitted by recognised private schools under the economically weaker sections (EWS) quota at the schools’ own expense.
While appearing before the court, Rajan said since the state government gave recognition to schools, thus it could make schools admit EWS students.
“Under which rule are you taking the test of students? There is no such provision under the Right To Education (RTE) Act. You have formulated your own rules,” questioned the bench while chiding the education department.
Responding to the query, the bench was informed that two committees had been constituted in Faridabad and Gurgaon for shortlisting students and conducting their test. The bench asked officials of the education department to file a detailed affidavit, listing details of how many students have been admitted and who are members of these committees.
The Haryana Progressive Schools Association had approached the high court against the state government’s directions to implement Rule 134-A. As per the rules, all private recognised schools of the state were required to reserve 25% seats from classes 1 to 12 for EWS students, including those below the poverty line (BPL).
The petitioner organisation submitted that the provisions were practically not feasible and the state government could not force private schools to follow such norms, which might cause huge financial losses.
Surina Rajan and director, school education, Vivek Atray were summoned after it was brought to the court’s notice that the Haryana government had failed to implement the RTE Act and were still imposing Rule 134-A.
The petitioner organisation submitted that the human resource development (HRD) ministry had also submitted an affidavit that when the RTE Act is being implemented, all other rules become null and void. The organisation said they were being forced to charge more fee from regular students in order to provide education to students falling under the RTE.
Advocate Aashish Chopra said, “The committee formed to admit students in private schools should have a representative from private schools’ organisations, which was not done. Also, students who are already studying in government schools under the RTE Act are being transferred to private schools and no new students are being admitted.”