The Bombay high court has directed the Maharashtra government to clarify its stand on fixing the entry level in schools under the 25% quota for students belonging to the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) under the RTE Act.
A bench of justices Anoop V Mohta and VL Achilya on Monday granted the government two weeks’ time to file a detailed reply.
While earlier the state’s provisions mandated that the entry level would be kindergarten and pre-primary classes, it passed a resolution on April 30 this year fixing Class I as the new entry level. The resolution stated that pre-primary sections did not come under the purview of the RTE Act and permitted schools to cancel pre-primary admissions under the quota.
In May, the high court stayed the resolution, stating that fixing the entry level in schools as Class I for the EWS quota was “not in the interest of justice.” The court further said there was no question of cancelling admissions made on the basis of circulars issued earlier.
The latest directive was issued while the court was hearing a plea filed by Dr Vikhe Patil Foundation regarding action initiated by the government against schools for not complying with its April 30 circular.
As per the state’s records, following its resolution, several schools had stopped admitting EWS students to pre-primary classes. It said on Monday that by the time the court’s stay order was issued, several schools had already completed their admission process and hence, about 5,300 students from the EWS category are awaiting admissions to pre-primary classes.
The court, however, told the state government that mere collection of statistics would serve no purpose. “It is the state government’s responsibility to ensure education for all under the RTE Act. Hence, you must clarify whether you will concede to the court order or challenge it,” the bench said.
Pleader Nitin Deshmukh, who appeared for the government, said the state was contemplating an appeal against the high court’s stay order in the Supreme Court.