Observing that a child and his or her education must not become a martyr in the battle between parents and the school’s management, the Bombay high court on Thursday directed the Maharashtra government to ensure that a 12-year-old boy, who was expelled from a south Mumbai school, secures admission in any other school in the vicinity immediately.
The directions came while the court was hearing a plea filed by the parent of a 12-year-old student of a private school in Marine lines. A division bench of justices VM Kanade and MS Sonak had taken cognisance of a letter written by the man and converted it into a plea.
According to the letter, the boy was expelled from the school as his father had “questioned the school’s demands and objected to paying a sum of Rs50,000 in cash to the school for purchase of uniform and other stationery.”
The boy’s father, Santosh Mehta, told the court that he had approached the school for admitting his son into Class seven. The school initially quoted a fee of Rs1,09,500 that he paid and was given a receipt against. However, later, the school demanded an additional sum of Rs50,000 for uniform, school books, bags and other stationery items.
The school management, however, had contended that the child was removed as his father refused to pay the school’s tuition fee.
At this, the court had asked the government if there existed any regulatory body for schools to sort out such problems.
On Thursday however, the bench held that before it gets into the process of initiating regulations, the government must not let the child in question suffer and directed government pleader Abhinandan Vagyani to ensure that the child gets admitted to any other school in the vicinity.
“There is a growing concern about allegations that schools are harassing children and expelling them. We will have to put an end to this. We may ask the government to frame guidelines. However, it will be in the interest of the child to be admitted to some other school in the vicinity. The child should not suffer. We want the boy to first get admitted to some other school. That is our primary concern. The larger issue of the war between the parents and school can be dealt with later. We do not want the child’s education to be martyred in the larger cause,” the bench said.
HC is likely to take up the matter for further hearing on July 19.