A private school in Jharkhand state capital Ranchi is in trouble for its offer of a preferential admission and fee waiver to single girl child but with a baffling rider that their parents must promise not to have another child.
Delhi Public School, which demands an affidavit from parents of single girl child declaring they would not have another child in return for preference in admission in preparatory class, said it is in the larger interest of the girl child.
The school’s proposition has infuriated parents who queued up for admission in October this year. They hauled the school to court, although it comes a little late considering the ‘scheme’ has been around for four years.
Ranchi Abhibhawak Manch, a parents’ association, filed a public interest litigation in the Jharkhand high court, seeking judicial intervention. The parents’ association said seeking a written oath was not only illegal, but it also violated human rights.
“No school has the right to demand such an affidavit as it infringes on their rights,” the association said in the PIL.
A division bench of chief justice Virender Singh and justice PP Bhatt on Wednesday observed it was wrong to demand such an affidavit from parents. It sent notices to the state government, DPS Ranchi and its parent body -- DPS Society in Delhi -- seeking their replies within four weeks.
The school authorities claim the effort was to promote girls’ education rather than work as a population control agent in a state where over 45% girls in the age group of eight to 16 are out of school.
“It is an independent initiative of our school launched four years ago and we find it absolutely sensible,” school principal Ram Singh said.
“I don’t know why people are raising hue and cry over it,” he said.
Jharkhand State Women’s Commission chairperson Mahua Majhi said she was shocked to hear about the DPS directive and wondered how they could come up with such a demand.
“I have to look into it to comment further on it,” Majhi said.
The PIL has been filed just days after China ended its one-child policy that has been widely blamed for its rapidly ageing population. Now Chinese couples will be allowed to have two children.