The Gauhati High Court recently took to task the Assam education department over the enforcement of the Right to Education (RTE) Act in the State, as per a report by the Bar and Bench
A Bench of Chief Justice (CJ) Sandeep Mehta and Justice Mitali Thakuria on May 17 asked the concerned authorities to ensure that admissions are provided as per the mandate of the Act.
During the course of the hearing, the CJ grilled counsel as to why no concrete modalities or dedicated portal was in place, and why such admissions were not being completed.
The Court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) petition regarding the implementation of the RTE Act.
It was alleged by the petitioners that schools were charging money for admitting children, or pressuring parents to sign blank undertakings.
When counsel for the respondents said that modalities were being worked out and children needed to apply accordingly if benefits were being denied, CJ Mehta said,
"You work out the modalities. You devolve criterion, rational criterion has to be there...We will take it day to day [if needed]."
When it was pointed out that a dedicated portal for admissions was still being developed, the CJ asked counsel to explain the delay.
"When did the RTE Act come into force? Take steps, or the Secretary will be paraded here. Where is your denial to the bereavements made?"
The Bench added that it would consider directing authorities to discontinue recognition of schools denying admissions, on being provided evidence of the same.
The Secretary of the Department of School Education was directed to be present in Court on the next date of hearing if the pending admissions and formalities were not completed.
The case will next be taken up on May 24.
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