Saturday, January 25, 2014

Private school fined for land 'fraud'

Private school fined for land 'fraud'

Shreya Roy Chowdhury, TNN Sep 21, 2013, 11.35PM IST

NEW DELHI: In a first, the Delhi government's Directorate of Education has fined an unrecognized private unaided school that was running from land allotted to a government-aided one. The application for recognition "up to primary level" of Adarsh School, D Block, Vikaspuri, has been rejected and a fine of Rs 1 lakh imposed.
The school had applied for recognition with hundreds of others when DoE invited registration in April this year. But, as the DoE order states, "On scrutiny of the application...it was observed that Adarsh School is running a primary school in the premises of Govt Aided School, namely Adarsh School, D Block Vikaspuri, New Delhi."
"The DDA (Delhi Development Authority) allotted land for a government-aided school. The terms and conditions are totally different for them and the money charged is negligible compared to a private school. But from the same premises, they were running a private primary school. It's a violation of the term of land allotment," says Amit Singla, director, education. "This is a landmark order from DOE towards implementation of Section 18(5) of Right to Education Act, 2009," says Khagesh Jha, member of lawyer-activist group, Social Jurists, "It's been used for the first time in Delhi, perhaps in India, to impose the penalty for running an unrecognized school."
The order further says that an education officer had written to the school in May asking them to "shift the unauthorized primary school" but "the school management has neither shifted the school from above said premises nor closed down the unrecognized primary school." The application for recognition was rejected as the norms and conditions mentioned by the department in March were for "grant of recognition...of schools which are running in unauthorized/regularized/undeveloped colon[ies]." Adarsh did not qualify.
Under the right to education (RTE) act, only recognized schools can function. Instead of closing down schools that did not meet land criteria, the government relaxed the land requirement, from 800 sqm to 166 sqm, and later invited all unrecognized schools, whatever their infrastructure support, to register. Unrecognized schools still running after the deadline for application was up, were fined Rs 1 lakh, and if that's not paid within 15 days, Rs 10,000 per day after that.

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