PIL seeks guidelines for school admission of Children with Special Needs

Jammu and Kashmir High Court has granted four more weeks to the government to respond to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking guidelines for admission of Children with Special Needs (CWSN) under Right to Education Act.

A division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Puneet Gupta granted the time after NH Shah, senior additional advocate general, representing the education department sought further time to file the reply.

The court also directed the other respondents who had not filed the reply to file the same within four weeks.

“The petitioners are permitted to file rejoinder, if any, before the next date of hearing,” the Court said while listing the case for further hearing on December 29.

On August 19, the High Court had issued the notice to Commissioner Secretary, School Education; Director, School Education, Kashmir and some private schools for their response to the PIL.

Besides seeking guidelines for admission of CWSN, the plea also seeks directions for ensuring the admission, attendance and free education to children with benchmark disability and removal of other barriers preventing them from getting quality education in recognised unaided private schools of J&K.

The PIL has been filed by two social activists — Zaheer Abbas Jan and Mudasir Shaban Dar and Dr Chitanjeet Kour, a physiotherapist, through advocate Hasnain M Khwaja and advocate Syed Musaib.

The petitioners contend that the Parliament amended part 4 of the Constitution of India and incorporated Article 21-A, a new Article to incorporate Right to Education of a child between six to 14 years as their fundamental right.

“A duty was imposed on the government to protect their fundamental right,” they plead.

They plead that in 2009 Parliament enacted Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, a follow up legislation for implementing the provision of Article 21-A of the Constitution.

“The special provision for the EWS/DG/CWSN children has been incorporated in the Act itself to address the practical difficulty.”

They further submitted that in 2012 provisions of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act was interpreted by Supreme Court that each and every child between six to 14 years has fundamental right of not only education but quality education.

“The top Court not only upheld the provision regarding destitute children but also appreciated the provisions of Act which addresses the specific problems faced by the children belonging to underprivileged category,” they plead.

The petitioners submitted they have time and again approached the concerned authorities including Chief Secretary and Director School Education for redressal of their appeal for providing inclusive education to children with special needs in top private schools.

“However our representation was never replied by the authorities,” they plead.