Gauhati High Court: While deliberating over the instant PIL seeking to direct the authorities in the Government of Assam to ensure proper compliance and implementation of the requirement of Section 12(1)(c) of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, which provides for education to the extent of at least 25% of the strength of a class for children belonging to weaker section and disadvantaged group in the neighbourhood of the school and provide free and compulsory elementary education till its completion, the Division Bench of Achintya Malla Bujor Barua* and Robin Phukan, JJ., issued the following directions-
The Court directed the concerned authorities to implement the policy/guidelines contained in the office memorandum dated 02-09-2021 which were framed in line with Section 12(1)(c) of RTE Act, so that the benefits provided therein are made available to the children belonging to the weaker section and disadvantaged group by availing the benefits of free and compulsory elementary education till its completion, for the academic year 2023-24. The Court stated that the afore-stated direction would also remain for all such subsequent academic years.
The Court also directed the Elementary Education Department of the Government of Assam to officially announce the issuance of admission form under Section 12(1)(c) through websites, regional newspapers and reliable media on or before 14-03-2023, as well as to issue the notice by the Elementary Education Department announcing the admission under Section 12(1)(c) also on or before 14.03.2023 and further the Elementary Education Department to do the needful to ensure that the respective unaided, non-minority schools are also made to issue the said notice on or before 15.03.2023.
The Court further provided that in the event, any such unaided, non-minority educational institutions do not comply with the requirements as mandated by the State Government in pursuance with RTE Act, 2009, appropriate action may be taken as provided under the relevant provisions of the Act.
The instant writ was brought in by the petitioner to highlight ineffective implementation of policies and guidelines which were made by the Government of Assam and the concerned authorities under the Samagra Shiksha Assam, in pursuance of Section 12(1)(c) of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 and were stated in office memorandum dated 02-09-2021.
The petitioner further stated that it is required from the State Education Department to officially announce about the issuance of admission forms under Section 12(1)(c) under the Act of 2009 through websites, regional newspapers and reliable media etc., and that the admission forms can be received free of cost from the respective schools and the filled-in applications are required to be submitted to the respective schools. The petitioner also pointed out that there is a requirement of issuing notice by the State Education Department and schools announcing the admission under the provisions of Section 12(1)(c) of the Act 2009 within 17th March every year, but despite such requirement, the notice has not yet been issued.
Perusing the contentions and mandate of the RTE Act, the Division Bench of the Court deemed it fit to issue the afore-stated directions before disposing of the instant PIL.
[Debargha Roy v. State of Assam, 2023 SCC OnLine Gau 839, decided on 10-03-2023]
*The judgment was authored by Justice Achintya Malla Bujor Barua.
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Petitioner- D. Ghosh, Advocate;
Respondent- N. Das, GA K. Das counsel for Respondent 2, 3, 5, S. Bora, counsel for Respondent No. 6