Delhi High Court: In a writ petition filed to challenge a Delhi Government Circular which laid down arbitrary instructions to reconstitute the School Management Committee through a draw of lots instead of elections, a bench comprising of Navin Chawla, J. expressing concerns on the matter, has relisted the matter to be heard on Monday, the 13th of July, 2020. The draw of lots for the School Management Committees was to be held by 11th July which now stands postponed till any order is passed on the date of the next hearing.

The School Management Committees (SMCs) are constituted under Section 21 of the Right to Education Act, 2009 and consist mainly of elected parents of the school students. They perform various functions such as monitoring working of school, preparing school development plans, monitoring utilization of funds and perform other functions as prescribed.

On 1st July, the Delhi Government had issued a circular by which SMCs were to be reconstituted through a draw of lots instead of elections right in the middle of the pandemic. Only a week’s time was given to file nominations which could only be filed online. The petitioners contested the circular, praying that the circular be quashed and argued that the reconstitution of SMCs should  be postponed by at least 6 months and/or when normalcy is restored. The petitioner submitted to the Court  that the outbreak of the virus was not a reasonable explanation for adopting the lottery system for constituting SMCs which is otherwise an elected body. They argued that it cannot be the case that the respondents were left with no option but to violate the law.The petitioners drew comparison with the decision of the Punjab Government, which has issued a circular dated 04.06.2020[1] that extended the tenure of the current SMC till 30.09.2020 and postponed the reconstitution due to the circumstances arising out of COVID-19.

They had also prayed that whenever SMCs are reconstituted, it should be through elections, with an appropriate time given to file nominations and with the option to file nominations offline. The next hearing on this matter will be on Monday, 13th July.

[Indra v. Government of NCT of Delhi, Writ Petition (C) No. 4076 of 2020, dated 10-07-2020]

Read the details of the petition here

[1] Circular No. 17/6-2018 Services(2)/224-26

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