The Bombay High Court on Thursday asked the state government to consider taking over more than 500 ashram schools, which are being run by private managements.
Ashram schools are boarding school for tribal children.
The court said this after receiving reports that suggested large-scale corruption in their administration.
“Why are the schools allowed to be run by private managements, when the state is bearing their entire expenses?” the court asked, while hearing a suo motu public interest litigation.
The judges were irked after amicus curiae Geeta Mulekar pointed out from reports of various court commissioners that most of the ashram schools were in pathetic conditions.
Mulekar also suspected that a huge chunk of government funds released for private-run ashram schools was being siphoned off. She told the court that the state was paying Rs 1,200 per child per month as grants to the private ashram schools.
The judges agreed saying: “From the reports, it becomes clear that private managements are not utilising funds but there appear no checks and balances.”
The court has also asked the chief secretary to prepare a comprehensive scheme to end woes of tribal children studying in ashram schools.
Suresh Shinda, a tribal activist from Thane district, had brought to the high court’s notice the plight of tribal children studying in ashram schools.
The high court has converted a letter written by him pertaining to the rape of a 14-year-old girl by the superintendent of the ashram school where she was studying.