HC seeks response from Delhi govt, MCD over plea claiming 6 lakh students deprived of benefits

The Delhi High Court Monday sought a response from the city government and Municipal Corporation of Delhi on a plea alleging over six lakh students of government and MCD-run schools are being deprived of statutory monetary benefits on the ground of non-operational bank accounts.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet PS Arora issued notice to the Delhi government, its Directorate of Education and MCD on the petition which claimed that the authorities have failed to timely grant statutory benefits like uniforms and scholarship to students.

The plea also said that the alleged denial of benefits to students is arbitrary, unjust, malafide, discriminatory, and unethical, and violates their fundamental right to education.

The court asked the authorities to file their replies and listed the matter for further hearing on April 10.

NGO Social Jurist in its petition claimed that 2,69,488 students studying in Delhi government schools and 3,83,203 students of MCD schools are being deprived of statutory benefits like uniforms, writing material, notebook, and scholarship as guaranteed to them under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act and the Delhi School Education Act on the alleged ground of non-operational bank accounts.

The petitioner, represented through advocates Ashok Agarwal and Kumar Utkarsh, sought a direction to the authorities to forthwith ensure that all the students have operational bank accounts and pay them through cheque the statutory benefits till their accounts are opened.

“It is submitted that audit memo dated November 14, 2023 of the Chief Auditor, Municipal Corporation of Delhi reveals shocking facts that around 3,83,203 students studying in MCD-run schools have been deprived of statutory monetary benefit for want of bank account since academic year 2016-17 to 2022- 23,” the plea said.

It added that in terms of Directorate of Education (DoE) circular of December 29, 2023, approximately 2,69,488 students of Delhi government-run schools have also been denied statutory benefits in absence of an operational bank account.

It sought to direct the authorities to ensure that students studying in their schools are given statutory benefits at the start of the academic year and they shall also include school bags, lunch boxes and water bottles as part of statutory benefits.

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