Some of the schools charged by the PTA body of having denied admissions on these grounds were Apeejay School, Kharghar and Nerul, and Balbharati Public School, Kharghar.
In March this year, a grievance letter was sent to the CBSE board and a week ago, the board responded by providing a copy of the government resolution (GR) issued to all the school heads in 2012 about the means and ways of implementing the RTE Act. "This GR clearly exposes the tactics used by schools affiliated to the board to deny admission to the weaker section. In February there were many incidents of CBSE schools not giving admissions to poor students. A common reason given by these schools was that they didn't have any guidelines from the board. But the fact remains that each of these schools and the concerned heads have been notified about the rules and provision by the board circular dated October 26, 2012," said A K Pandey, president of the federation.
The circular has already stated the legal provisions towards ensuring equal and discrimination-free education within the capacity of the school. Accordingly, every school, irrespective of its ownership or authority, is required to provide free and compulsory education to the students from the weaker sections. There can be no grounds for discrimination or breach of the admission policy or the process.
Any child above the age of six years seeking admission has to be admitted to the appropriate class even if the child is illiterate. The onus of arranging special education for the child lies with the school. "All admission aspects and ways to assimilate the child to mainstream education are explained in the circular. Awareness about the circular will aid parents seeking admission to these schools for the next academic year," said Pandey.
All of the aforementioned schools management, accused of discrimination, stated that they have adhered to the RTE norms and guidelines given by the respective state education governing body.
When asked about the circular issued by the CBSE board, the authorities were either uncertain or said that they have uploaded it on their website.
Thou shalt not discriminate
CBSE guidelines as stated in the circular dated October 26, 2012:
The school shall not discriminate a child belonging to the weaker section or disadvantaged group, allow or condone any constituent of the school to discriminate such a child or a group of such children by taking the following measures:
1.By breach of the policy of reservation in admissions as may be applicable
2.In the way in which an application is processed
3.By denying or limiting access to any benefit arising out of such enrolment provided by the school
4.By treating unfavorably in any way in connection with the child's enrolment to a specific standard or class or area of study, training or instruction