The Bombay high court on Tuesday rejected the petition four students, admitted in a Malad school under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, who were expelled after it came to fore that their parents had submitted forged income certificates to gain eligibility.
The division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice MS Sonak turned down the petition filed by Mangal Pandey (7), his brother Arjun (5), Ayush Mishra (7) and Dev Mishra (5) primarily on the grounds that they did not espouse alternate remedies available under the RTE Act. While Mangal and Ayush were studying in Class 2, the other two petitioners are in pre-primary.
The bench said that under the RTE Act, in-house mechanism has been provided for redressal of grievances of violation of any of the rights conferred by the Act on children, and the aggrieved person can approach local authorities like municipal corporations or municipal councils or the State Commission for Child Rights, and the authorities can pass appropriate orders.
The bench also refused to order Gokuldham High School and Junior College to allow the students to attend school as an interim measure, primarily noting that the parents approached education authorities and obtained orders from them.
The observation came after the counsel for the petitioner pointed out that in May 2016, their parents received letters from the school that they have submitted forged income certificates and their wards were therefore being expelled. He said the school has expelled about 150 students on the same ground, because all the parents had engaged the same agent for obtaining income certificates and a criminal case had been registered against the agent, and police were investigating the matter.
The counsel further pointed out that thereafter the parents obtained genuine income certificates and submitted those with the school authorities, but despite submitting the genuine certificates, the school has refused to allow the students to attend classes. The counsel further complained that the school did not mend even after parents of petitioner students approached the Deputy Director, Education and the authority directed the school to allow the students to attend school.
The contention, however, did not weigh with the bench for the reason that the petitioner approached the wrong authority and obtained orders. “If the petitioners kept knocking doors of wrong authorities, they themselves were to be blamed for that,” the bench said in this regard. Besides, the judges said, Gokuldham School is not the only school available for the petitioner students for seeking admission and pursue education.