High drama prevailed outside Pumpkins Kindergarten on Tuesday as the school authorities refused to give admission to a child to the nursery class in the same school.
Harman Dhingra, who did pre-nursery from the school in 2011, was asked to pay for the new academic session in January 2012, even before the completion of the old session.
Having admitted Harman in the pre-nursery class, his parents had paid the registration-cum-building donation fee of Rs 32,600 in April 2011 and the session was scheduled till March 2012.
Unable to make arrangements for the fee till January 13, the parents approached the school authorities to give some time to the family as they were going through a financial crisis.
However, the director and the principal of the school refused to grant extension to the family and stated that in case the registration fee was not deposited by February 13, the child would not be promoted to the next class i.e. nursery.
Thereafter, the family borrowed money from their kin and approached the school authorities for admission to nursery class, but the authorities refused admission stating that all the seats were filled and there was no vacancy left in the nursery class.
Left with no option, Jatin Pal Singh Dhingra and Harpal Kaur Dhingra, parents of Harman, terming the denial of admission as a violation of provisions of Section 16 of the "Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009" filed a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana high court. The parents had filed the writ on behalf of Harman Dhingra.
Section 16 clearly states "Prohibition of holding back and expulsion: No child admitted in a school shall be held back in any class or expelled from the school till the completion of elementary education."
In the interim orders passed on April 16, the Punjab and Haryana high court had passed the order in the favour of minor petitioner Harman thereby ordering the authorities concerned of Pumpkins Kindergarten to allow the child to attend classes of nursery in the school.
The court had also ordered the district education officer (elementary) to depute a responsible teacher to visit the school to ascertain the well being of the minor petitioner and make sure that the boy keeps attending classes. Besides, the court had ordered the petitioner's guardian (Harman's parents) to pay Rs 19,000 as the registration fee to the school within a period of three days and has asked them to produce a valid receipt from the school on the next date of hearing in the court.
Vineet Monga, uncle of Harman Dhingra, who accompanied the boy's parents to the school, on Tuesday while speaking to the HT alleged that, "The highhandedness of the director and principal of the school was evident from their behaviour as not only did they refuse us entry into the school premises, but also did not acknowledge the court order."
However, Sandeep Kler, director of the school, denied having received the court orders, adding that, "We have not received any orders, but we will definitely abide by whatever the Punjab and Haryana high court recommends."
He also said the school authorities had been accommodating Harman's parents and had asked them to pay the amount in installments. However, they failed to make a single payment in the stipulated time and on top of it all Harman's uncle Vineet Monga during his last visit allegedly abused the school authorities and threatened the office-bearers.