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Free education for underprivileged students: Delhi HC seeks response from Centre

In a major development, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought the response from the Centre and the AAP government on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by an NGO to seek free education for students belonging to economically weaker sections (EWS) and disadvantaged groups (DG).

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar in the notice to the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) and the Delhi government sought their replies to the plea filed by the NGO.

The NGO, Social Jurist, in its petition filed through advocate Ashok Agarwal, has sought the direction to amend the Right To Education (RTE) Act, 2009 to provide free education in unaided schools after Class VIII and up to Class XII.

“After Class VII, students from Economically Weaker Sections and other disadvantaged groups are asked by schools authorities to leave because they are incapable of affording the fee from Class IX onwards,” the plea said, adding, “Such students are left with the only option to join government schools.”

The PIL further stated that since government schools are Hindi-medium, these will not only be highly prejudicial to students’ interest but also defeat the very object of providing free education in an unaided private school.

“Their parents are not in a position to pay hefty fees in unaided private schools from Class IX onwards,” the PIL added.

“The very objective of RTE of allowing DG/EWS students to study in unaided schools would be defeated if they are not allowed to continue studies up to class XII and complete their schooling,” Advocate Ashok Agarwal was quoted as saying by a news agency.

According to reports, students admitted under the RTE across the country are facing the threat of discontinuing their studies after Class VIII.

Manmath Nayak

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