J&K HC seeks report on implementation of Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act

SRINAGAR — The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh recently directed the government of Jammu and Kashmir to file a status report on the steps taken to implement the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (RTE Act) in the Union Territory, Bar and Bench reported.

According to the report, Justices Rajnesh Oswal and Mohan Lal ordered the government to file the status report positively by the next date of hearing, which is due to be held on April 5.

“Respondents shall file status report with regard to the steps undertaken by the respondents for implementation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 positively by next date of hearing with particular reference to the schools as defined under Section 2(n)(ii) and 2(n)(iv) of the said Act of 2009,” stated the order passed by Jammu and Kashmir High Court on March 1.

The Court also asked the government to furnish a list of aided and unaided private schools in the Union Territory.

The order was passed on a public interest litigation (PIL) petition moved by an NGO, ‘Young Lawyers Forum’, through its counsel advocate Huzaif Ashraf Khanpori, seeking the implementation of RTE Act in Jammu and Kashmir.

Appearing for the petitioner, advocate Huzaif Ashraf, according to the report highlighted that it has been over three years since the RTE Act became applicable to Jammu and Kashmir.

Its applicability in Jammu and Kashmir had given hope to children from marginalized and poor sections of society of access to education in private schools, which are otherwise unaffordable and unimaginable for them, the Court was told.

The lawyer further pointed out that the non-implementation of the mandatory reservation provided under Sections 12(1)(b) and 12(1)(c) of the RTE Act is a violation of the statutory mandate under the RTE Act.

Moreover, such non-implementation is also a continuing violation of the fundamental right to free and compulsory education under Article 21A of the Constitution, available to children belonging to weaker and disadvantaged sections, he contended.