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Duty to send kids to gov’t schools: Read the HC judgment that put private schools off-limits for public servants

Allahabad HC: We don't want no (private) education
Allahabad HC: We don't want no (private) education

The Allahabad high court has passed an order taking away the freedom of children of public functionaries in Uttar Pradesh to enrol in private schools, reported the Times of India.

Purporting to cure the problem of public servants neglecting their duty to properly maintain government schools, the high court ordered UP’s chief secretary to ensure that “government officials/servants, those serving in the local bodies, representatives of people and judiciary, etc” send their children only to government schools.

Senior advocates Ashok Khare and Radha Kant Ojha acted for the petitioners, advocate the state’s standing counsel AK Yadav for the respondents Basic Shiksha Parishad.

Anoop Trivedi, Seemant Singh, Abhishek Srivastava and SK Mishra for the a number of intervenors and individual candidates.

Justice Sudhir Agarwal observed in his order in the writ of Umesh Kumar Singh and others:

“Only then would [government servants] be serious enough to look into the requirements of these schools and ensure that they are run in a good condition.”

Justice Agarwal has directed that the chief secretary should ensure implementation of this order for primary schools within six months from now.

Supreme Court advocate KV Dhananjay, Karnataka-based counsel of the Karnataka Unaided Schools Managements’ Association (KUSMA), an association of over than 2,000 private unaided schools  - criticised the judgment as deeply flawed, but noted that it did “bring an extremely important issue into public debate”.

“The law involved here is not complicated at all. The honourable judge has no such power in fact or law to command Government servants in Uttar Pradesh to only send their children to Government schools,” he said. “To begin with, he is not the legislature of Uttar Pradesh. And, the freedom to choose an educational institution of one’s choice is itself a fundamental right and not even the Uttar Pradesh Legislature or the Parliament of India is competent to legislate to such effect. Period.”

“Absent competence to so direct, the further direction from the judge that a penal provision should be carved out by the legislature has no force either.”

Judgment: Allahabad HC bans public servants from private schools

Photo by McKay Savage

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