New Delhi: Out of around 70,000 children from poor and disadvantaged families, only 17,500 have been provided free books in this academic year, the city government informed the Delhi High Court Tuesday.

In an affidavit, the Delhi government also said that approximately 16,500 children have been provided free uniforms.

A division bench of Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Siddharth Mridul will Wednesday take into consideration the report by the Delhi government.

Earlier, the bench slammed the government for filing a “wishy washy” report on the issue and asked it to file a status report on the number of students in the 6-14 age group in this academic year in schools in both categories as well as the number of students given free books and uniforms.

The report filed by the Directorate of Education said 1,092 private schools provided details.

It said 68,951 children from the EWS (economically weaker section) and DG (disadvantaged group) categories were studying in these schools in this academic year.

“The number of children getting free textbooks is 17,497 and those getting free uniforms are 16,467,” the report said.

It said children studying upto Class 8 in government schools were provided free textbooks and a fixed amount for uniforms.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Khagesh Jha demanding proper implementation of the provisions of the Right to Education Act to provide free books and uniforms to children from the EWS and disadvantaged group categories in private unaided schools.

The plea said unaided-recognised schools were bound to give not only admission but also provide books, uniforms and other study materials free of cost to students admitted under the 25 percent quota of EWS and disadvantaged groups.

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