Mumbai; Sep 27, 2014
As a solution to the problems faced by parents in securing admissions for their children in schools, the Government of Maharashtra on Friday informed the Bombay high court that it has plans to review the Right to Education Act (RTE) policy for the next academic year.
The state government informed the court while hearing public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Anudanit Shiksha Bachao Samiti, a NGO representing affected parents whose children have not yet got admissions to schools under the RTE Act.
The government’s decision comes in the wake of an earlier suggestion by a division bench of Justice Anoop V. Mohta and Justice F.E. Reis that it offer vacant seats under the RTE Act for students under the open category and those living in the vicinity of the school.
However, government pleader Geeta Shastri had at the time informed the bench that schools could not utilise these seats under the open category as it was not permissible under Section 15 of the RTE Act. These seats had to be left vacant in case students approached them later during the academic year for admission under the RTE. The judges had then asked the government to consider reviewing its policy.
The court had been informed that around 50,000 seats were still vacant under the reserved category across the state. The court had reprimanded the government and asked what the point of keeping seats vacant was. The judges had asked why other children of the locality could not join school and when infrastructure was available, why it could not be used by others the court had also said that if this was done, it would ease some pressure on school managements as well.
The Municipal Corporation for Greater Mumbai told the court that in case any parent had any grievance due to improper implementation of the RTE Act, they could approach the Maharashtra State Child Welfare Commission and lodge a complaint.