Common school system - negotiating the law again

Another letter to say there is law and it offers
solutions better than chaos all seem busy spinning.

(Delhi government is talking of 15% free seats, short
of court order of 25%, short of what this condition is
part of. 25% assumes integrated communities. Perhaps
15% presumes success of current illegal resettlement.

In our High Court case re slums, officers have been
ordered to appear in person for failure to answer even
after 3affidavits. In our case re schools, officers
have been ordered to appear in person for failure to
reply or appear. Both cases are based on substantive
engagements since 2000. The discourse is made out of
some stuff really high-resistant-to-lawful-solutions).

Chief Secretary, GoNCTD
Delhi Government Secretariat,
IP Estate, New Delhi ? 110002

Sub: WP 8954 to 8959 / 2003 (against allotment and use
of school sites in violation of Delhi Master Plan and
for enforcing Master Plan provisions for common school
Ref: News item 'Schools must teach poor children
free', Hindustan Times, 17.02.2004, p.1

Dear Madam,
The news item under reference suggests ongoing
discussions about Hon'ble High Court's order of
20.01.04 in WP 3156/2002 and a scheme for 15%
freeships, etc, to be placed before the Hon'ble Court
for its approval. Please permit me to point out that:
(a) The Hon'ble Court, while disposing off WP
3156/2002, has not sought a 'scheme', only a
compliance report. Its order requires DoE, GoNCTD 'to
point out to DDA wherever a breach is committed' and
'If there are no rules for admission framed see
that the rules are framed'.
(b) The freeships condition flows from Delhi Master
Plan in the context of its schema for common school
system and authorities are duty-bound under Delhi
Development Act to devise schemes and rules, including
for compliance, within this context (which does allows
scope for flexibility).
(c) In WP 8954/2003, content of which has direct
bearing on efforts for compliance in WP 3156/2002,
Hon'ble Court passed orders on 17.12.2003 and on
04.02.2004 (directing reply / personal appearance of
officers). The matter is listed on 25.02.2004 and no
reply has been filed.

The news report under reference conveys the impression
that the Hon'ble Court has left scope for government
and schools to negotiate the law without regard to its
purpose and spirit. This is entirely without basis and
you are requested to ensure that such reports at least
do not have official quotes.

Please also permit me to raise two related questions:
(1) As per news reports a policy has been jointly made
by all tiers of government to allow misuse of private
farmhouses against payment of a fee much higher than
the penalty set out in law. Would this not require a
similar, if not stricter, policy for misuse of public
land sites, such as schools?
(2) One of the schools mentioned in WP 8954/2003 had
moved court against a notice against misuse in 2003.
The Hon?ble Court, upholding the notice, granted the
school?s prayer for time till end of academic year. In
case of resettlement in WP 1362/2004 Hon'ble Court did
not grant the same to residents in view of certain
assurances by the authorities. What action has been
taken on these assurances and which schools will be
providing freeships to children in resettlement areas?

Lastly, it is requested that reply in WP 8954/2003 be
expedited for timely clarification of common school
system perspective of Delhi Master Plan so that
opportunity arising from the Hon'ble Court's order in
WP 3156/2002 to take a huge step towards
universalisation of education is not missed.

Yours sincerely

Gita Dewan Verma / Planner
B.Arch (SPA, gold medalist); M.Planning (SPA, gold
medalist); PG Dip-Research (IHS-Rotterdam, top rank);
Dip-Training (DoPT)
Formerly: Senior Fellow (HUDCO-HSMI), Visiting Faculty
(SPA, TVB SHS), Consultant (DfID, IHSP, Nuffic,
UNICEF, etc)
Currently: Independent planning researcher / writer
and consultant to citizens' groups synergising on
Master Plan Implementation Support Group

For information, and with request to expedite reply in
WP 8954/2003
1. Vice Chairman, Delhi Development Authority
2. Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development
3. Commissioner, MCD
4. Joint commissioner (Traffic), Delhi Police

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