Activists say the May 9 deadline is contrary to the spirit and provisions of RTE Act, which aims at education for all. "How does the government expect people from weaker sections of societyto get application forms, attach documents and file them in seven days," asked A Narayanan, a social activist.
According to the RTE Act, admissions can be carried out till six months from the date of commencement of academic year. However, the GO doesn't mention this and says, "Since the said process of admission has to be completed by end of May, the time frame as mentioned in the annexure has to be strictly adhered to."
Challenging the GO, Narayan had filed a public interest litigation last May, but it's still pending in court. "The case keeps getting postponed and has been pending for a year as the state hasn't bothered to file a counter," said Narayanan.
It is not right to have a deadline for taking students under RTE, said K Murthy, TN state convener for RTE Forum, a group comprising 10,000 NGOs across India. "A minimum of three months is required for admission. Schools should take measures to fill the seats left vacant under RTE instead of making them paid seats," said Murthy.
A senior government official said the state wouldn't let the seats go vacant. "Parents can get the application forms from April 1 when matriculation schools start their admissions. If schools don't get enough students, a counter will be opened in the office of the chief education officer like last year," said the official.