[eebill] The free seats business (court hearing of 05/05/05)

There is a report on the hearing of 05/05/05 in the
Pioneer, at end of this post. Mr Gopal Subramaniam,
appearing for 250 unaided schools, was brilliant. He
demonstrated how GNCTD, ordered only to frame rules
had issued instead the impugned directive which did
not amount to legislative act of framing rules that
requires, under the Delhi School Education Act,
approval of Parliament. [It was in this context that
the court directed reply from UoI that, lest we
forget, has (in persons of PM, MoHRD minister and LG)
reportedly gone as gung-ho as others about this
illegal directive]. The part I liked best was when Mr
Subramaniam took all through the GNCTD counter, which
defends its illegal directive in terms of, besides the
High Court Order that does not justify it, things like
moral obligations of schools, international covenants
applicable to the state rather than private schools,
and the education Bill yet to become law and sweeping
statement about how the gurukul tradition is over and
schools are a commercial ventures (how I wish I had a
copy of this counter to shred to further smithereens
with reference to GNCTD responsibilities under Delhi
Development Act, which, of course, no one mentioned,
though, most unexpectedly, DDA counsel, Mr Sabharwal,
insisted on filing a counter). Before Mr Subramaniam,
Mr Romy Chako, appearing for perhaps a dozen convent
schools, was also most persuasive.

About the so-called scheme that the schools have put
up, in their letter of as late as 08/04/05 to
bhagidaari chairperson Ma Dikshit, even the court
noted that it is illegal and did ask if the schools
had a scheme that did not require a statute amendment
(I stuck up my hand and then, remembering this was
courtroom not seminar, muttered
annex-4-in-our-intervention-madam, which also takes
care of the cess and ssa and other funds utilization
that much was being made of - a core contention of
mpisg being that you need school-space to invest other
universalisation resources). The proposed illegal
scheme that GNCTD now has to consider by order of
court is already in operation (despite our complaints,
including to police) and has, perhaps in anticipation
of judicial endorsement, been up-scaled in the course
of this petition - complete with much publicised
histrionics like the mushaira at the DPS thingummy at
which even the PM’s wife read a couplet. When
this letter to CM was mentioned in court earlier, we
had written to the authorities to say we would oppose
any scheme inferior to the one proposed by us since
2001, including in our writ petition of 2003 and
intervention of 2005. We will too, also since
consideration of a scheme mooted on 08/04/05 conflicts
with DMP2021 public notice process. Engagements on
illegal demolition threats permitting, we will be
discussing modalities on the weekend.

Does any one know which ministry of UoI has to process
/ table in Parliament GNCTD rules / statute amendment?

This does seem rather academic now, with courtrooms
packed with counsel arguing, one way or the other, in
favour to the DMP2021 proposal to abandon the DMP
scheme for common school system. Next hearing is on
16/05/05. As interveners we have again been assured we
will be heard before final order is passed, which the
court is inclined to do before vacation.

---Pioneer report of 06/05/05---

Utilisation of funds for poor kids: HC seeks Centre's

Abraham Thomas/ New Delhi

Amidst the debate for providing freeship to
economically weak students in unaided private schools,
the Delhi High Court has sought information from the
Centre on its much-publicised "Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan".

Observing that the Centre had equal role to play in
matters relating to formulation of education policies
by State Government, Justice Gita Mittal asked the
Centre to file an affidavit with regard to the
utilisation of funds for schemes meant for
economically deprived children within one week.

The court was hearing a batch of petitions filed by
unaided private schools which sought to challenge the
clause of providing freeship to poor students in lieu
of having obtained land at concessional rates from the
Delhi Development Authority (DDA). The sale deed
provided for the condition to provide 25 percent
freeship to poor students.

The matter was brought to a division bench of the
Delhi High Court, which ordered that those schools
which failed to abide by the clause as mentioned in
their sale deed should be showcaused. In this regard,
the Delhi Government issued show cause notices to
erring schools and the DDA threatened to cancel their

The private schools challenged the above notices,
stating that the Centre was shirking in its duty
towards providing education to poor students by
shifting the blame upon the private schools. The court
was apprised of the fact that under the Sarva Shiksha
Abhiyan, the Centre received funds from the World
Bank, as also the cess on education collected by the
Centre towards this purpose.

Besides, the court observed that despite funds being
made available, the Government was closing down its
schools on account of inadequate student strength. The
Centre was asked to reply on this account.

The public schools, who were represented collectively
by the Action Committee for Unaided Schools, drew the
court's attention to a letter dated April 8, this year
wherein a suggestion for holding classes for poor
children in the afternoon was mooted.

The State was asked to consider on the representation
and file their suggestions in this regard to be
presented before court by May 16, the next date of

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