Rendered jobless as pandemic morphs into a major economic crisis, Naveen Kumar Jha was forced to discontinue his daughters' education at a private school as he was unable to pay the school fee. He, along with his wife Guriya Jha tried to approach the Delhi government’s school – Rajkiya Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya but returned disappointed after being told that no more seats are available.
Worried about their daughters’ future, loss of learning, and time, the grieved parents decided to take legal recourse and approached Advocate Ashok Agarwal and Kumar Utkarsh. The lawyers have filed a writ petition in the Delhi High Court calling the state government school's response - “illegal, arbitrary, discriminatory, unjust, malafide and immoral.”
However, as the case reached the court, the school authorities did not speak but pointed out that no admission can be denied till Class 8 and all admissions are still open.
In a video message shared by the advocate- their client Guriya Jha, mother of Sonam Kumari and Suhani Kumari studying in Class 3 and 1 respectively was seen saying, “I was educating my two daughters in a private school but because of Corona and the subsequent job loss of my husband I want to shift them to a government school.”
“When I approached earlier the school administration asked me to get the required documents for admissions. And now, they are telling me to consider an MCD school as seats are full,” Guriya added.
However, the writ petition stated that it is directed against the “impugned action on the part of Government of NCT of Delhi, hereinafter referred as respondent Government, whereby the Government has denied admission to the petitioner daughters namely, 8 years old Sonam Kumari and 5 years old Suhani Kumari in classes III and I respectively in Rajkiya Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya, hereinafter referred as respondent school, in the academic year 2020-21.”
“It is respectfully submitted that despite being poor, the petitioner somehow was managing to pay the fees of the private unrecognized schools but during the lockdown and pandemic they have lost all income whatever it was and were forced to withdraw her daughters from these unrecognized private schools in order to get them admitted in respondent school which is a ‘neighbourhood school’,” said the petition added.
Meanwhile, when News18.com contacted the Delhi government school principal Rajeshwari Kapari asking her baout the incident she said, “the admission has not been denied as the process is still on. The seats are capped to 40 to ensure the quality of education and as soon as there is a vacant seat in any of the classes they seek admission, we will contact them.”
“There is a Nagar Nigam school close by which acts as a support to us and in case of unavailability of seats we recommend the MCD school,” she added. However, the Delhi government officials clarified the admissions are not closed yet and no student can be denied admission till class eight.
In the submission made to the Delhi High Court, the petitioners have called the action in violation of Articles 14, 21, 21-A and 38 of the Constitution of India read with the provision of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (hereinafter referred as RTE Act, 2009) and Delhi School Education Act, 1973.
As per the petition Jha had given an application to the respondent school in the month of July for grant of admission to her daughters but in view of the fact that the respondent school in its reply dated 22 September denied receipt of any such application. And later another application was submitted and even emailed to the school.
Not losing hope to educate his daughters, Jha also approached the All India Parents Association (AIPA), which further took the matter up with the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and wrote to him this month.
“It is submitted that on 22 September Advocate Ashok Agarwal also AIPA National President received the reply through an email from the Principal of respondent school thereby school literally denies admission to these children. Hence, this present petition.”
The petition also added, “whether Sonam and Suhani Kumari have the fundamental and legal right in terms of Article 21-A of Constitution of India and Section 3 of RTE Act, 2009 to get admission in neighbourhood school.”
For several reasons Jha does not want to send her daughters to an MCD school, one of them she said is the distance, “That school is very far from my residence, which is why I want them to join Rajkiya Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya,” she said. The parents also mentioned that the standard of education in Delhi government school is much better than that of MCD primary school.
However, the court is likely to hear the case on September 28 as the parents hope to get the neighborhood school soon and prevent any loss of time and learning.