Gujarat govt gets HC notice on plans to convert Gandhi’s school into museum
The PIL, filed by a former student of the school, said that the decision to close down the institution was against the RTE Act, which guarantees education to all. It said the decision would adversely affect around 100 studentsindia Updated: Jul 05, 2017 22:08 IST
The Gujarat high court on Wednesday issued a notice to the state government on a PIL challenging its decision to convert into museum a 164-year-old school in Rajkot where Mahatma Gandhi had studied.
A division bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice V M Pancholi asked the government counsel to seek instructions from the state over its intention to turn the school into a museum, and why the former was closed down.
The high court posted the matter for hearing after two weeks.
The PIL filed by Ramesh Mansata, a former student of Alfred High School, also known as Mohandas Gandhi High School, challenged the government’s decision to convert the historic school into a museum.
The petitioner challenged the decision on the ground that the Right to Education (RTE) Act requires the state to promote free education for students of weaker sections by opening more schools.
The plea also said that since Gandhiji’s name is attached to the school, the government should not close it down.
Last year, the Rajkot Municipal Corporation(RMC) had sent a proposal to the Gujarat government to shut down the school and convert it into a museum, which was accepted by the government.
A notice had been issued by the government in August last year to close down the school. Accordingly, it was shut down this year and students were given leaving certificate so they could secure admission in other schools.
An official had earlier said that the museum proposes to showcase the life and times of Gandhiji, Sardar Patel and many other prominent personalities.
Mansata’s PIL said that the decision to close down the school was against the RTE Act, which guarantees education to all. It said the decision would adversely affect around 100 students.
Apart from the state’s education department, notices were also issued to Rajkot Municipal Corporation, Collector and District Education Officer.
The Alfred High School was founded in October 1853, and its present building was constructed by the Nawab of Junagadh in 1875. It was named after Prince Alfred, the Duke of Edinburgh. Mahatma Gandhi passed out of this school in 1885.
After India’s independence in 1947, the school was renamed Mohandas Gandhi High School.
Though Gandhiji’s name was attached to the institution, it earned a dubious distinction when none of its 60 odd students could clear the Class X board exam a few years back.