Srinagar, July 26: Disposing of the public interest litigation (PIL) seeking revamping of policy adopted by the private schools regarding admission at Nursery and Pre-school stage, the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh observed that it expects the government would ensure uniform implementation of National Education Policy (NEP) by all private schools.
A division bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Javed Iqbal Wani disposed of a PIL filed by Kaisar Ahmad Bhat seeking direction to the official respondents to evolve policy of admissions in private schools which should be fair and just for the economic and social status of the society.
The bench passed the observation after the Assistant Solicitor General of India (ASGI) representing the Central government submitted that there is National Education Policy, 2020, already in place issued by the government of India and it takes care of all matters relating to admissions in private schools and, as such, no further policy is required to be formulated.
On this, the petitioner who appeared in person admitted that a very good policy has been framed by the government "but still the private schools are behaving in an arbitrary and illegal manner."
He pointed out that the aforesaid policy has not been implemented or enforced.
The counsel, Hakim Suhail Ishtiaq submitted that some of the private schools have adopted the policy but others have to follow it.
The court after hearing the parties noted that the issue of illegal behaviour of some of the schools is distinct and unconnected with the subject matter of the PIL which can be raised independently by the persons aggrieved.
"In view of the above, we dispose of this writ petition filed in public interest with the expectation that the respondent-government shall ensure uniform implementation of the above policy by all private schools," the bench said.
The plea stated that the policy of admission at Nursery stage in other parts of the country and globally is dictated by the rule that the children should be 6 years of age by the time they reach 1st standard.
Bhat had submitted before the court that no such definite policy is observed in the private schools in J&K.
He had contended that pre-schools in J&K start the admission process for children at the age of 3+ without exception.
“The authorities who are at the helm of affairs in this field are not taking cognizance of the issue and taking remedial measures among them may have been giving warning of derecognizing the private schools which are not adhering to the following admission policy of admitting only 6 years old children in the Standard 1st”, he had said.
Referring to the Right to Education Act, Bhat had submitted that the said Act is enabling legislation for fundamental right to education enshrined in the Article 21-A premised on the proposition that the schooling of the children from Standard 1st should begin from the age of 6.
He had informed the court that private schools do not follow either the law or the pursuit of such policies in the admission of the children which will prove to be beneficial academically and cognitively for the children but on the contrary are taken over by the profiteering and commercial motives and want to make quick bucks as soon as possible.
Bhat further submitted that the practice of seeking information regarding financial strength of the parents of the children for admission is not only "morally and ethically reprehensible" itself but also appears to be only determining criteria for the admission of the children in the school.
He had referred to the decision of Delhi government in which schools have been directed not to ask for financial information from the parents.
"The same decision needs to be taken so that the pernicious practice is snuffed out so that parents see their children educated in schools of their choice," he had said.