Private schools facing de-recognition

HC orders status quo
 J&K High Court, Srinagar
J&K High Court, SrinagarMubashir Khan/GK File

Srinagar, June 24: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh Friday ordered maintaining of status quo on private schools facing de-recognition in the face of the amendment made in the education rules by the government on April 15 this year.

Seeking the government's response to a plea by 33 schools through the Private Schools Association, a bench of Justice Moksha Khajuria Kazmi said: “In the meantime, subject to objections to be filed by the respondents and till next date of hearing, status quo, as on date, shall be maintained.”

The court granted the relief after hearing senior advocate Zaffar Ahmad Shah on behalf of the Private Schools Association, observing that it was “satisfied that petitioners have prima facie made out a case for ad-interim relief at this stage”.

While issuing notice to the government returnable within three weeks, the court listed the plea for further consideration on July 18.

According to SO-177 passed by the government’s School Education Department on April 15 this year, certain amendments were carried in J&K School Education Rules, among others providing conditions for registration and recognition of the schools.

While Sub Rule (2)(A) and Sub Rule (2)(B) require private schools to obtain a “No Objection Certificate” from concerned tehsildars on the format provided by the rules, an amendment in Rule 12 inserted words – take over its management or both” after “derecognise”.

Advocate Shah contended before the court that “serious controversy has arisen as regards the amendments and the consequent notification and circulars issued there under”.

“The amendment and the consequent notification and circulars issued on the subject have the effect of taking over the management of the school which has been established on Kacharai land,” he said.

The senior counsel contended that in keeping with the various decisions of the Supreme Court, no situation could be created wherein schools would have to be closed.

“The amendments provide for taking over the management of the schools in case objection certificate is not obtained,” he submitted. He said that all these issues were serious and adversely affected the student community.

The Private Schools Association has sought the court’s intervention for declaring the SO-117 as “ultra vires” to the constitution as well as quashing notification and circular issued on April 16 and 22 over the recognition and taking over management of the schools.

The Private Schools Association has also sought direction from the government to accord registration and recognition to the schools as was being done before the issuance of the amendments.

The court order has provided a relief to the schools at a time when the Chief Education Officers (CEOs) in Kashmir issued orders for “closing the schools operating on State or Kacharai land”.

“The students in such institutions shall be accommodated in nearby government schools, subject to the consent of their parents,” said the order to be implemented within 15 days.

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