Written by Aneesha Mathur | New Delhi | February 22, 2014 2:30 am
“Clubbing with 25 per cent (quota for) economically weaker groups (EWS) would also subsume or entirely extinguish the claim of the special children to their right to education,” observed the court of Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice R V Easwar.
Taking note of the urgency of the issue as the nursery admission process will soon be closed, the court has asked the Delhi government to respond to the plea by Tuesday.
A PIL had been filed on Thursday by the father of a child with special needs, claiming that the guidelines issued under the RTE Act, had “completely ignored” the interests of children with special needs and disabilities. He said the guidelines, “instead of creating a level playing field or creating more opportunities for children with disabilities to have access to good education, have ended up in marginalising them completely”.
The plea also notes that the nursery admissions guidelines issued by the Delhi Lt-Governor in December, had also clubbed the mentally challenged children into the EWS category, reducing opportunities for them.
The petition also said the amendment to the RTE Act in 2012 was “unconstitutional” since the amendment included “children with disabilities” within the category of disadvantaged children, clubbing them with the 25 per cent quota for economically weaker sections.
“The amendment of 2012 to the RTE Act, 2009, is unconstitutional in as much as it has curtailed the special provisions of the Disabilities Act, 1995, by which disabled children have an established right to access to education as they have special needs and may not be at par to compete with children of normal cognitive ability,” the plea filed by Pramod Arora stated.
During arguments on Friday, Senior advocate Kirti Uppal also submitted that only 43 of over 230 private unaided schools in the city had the infrastructure to support children with special needs, and had been reserving three or four seats in the general quota for such children before the L-G’s guidelines.
“The schools cannot use that discretion and set aside points for the disabled now because the L-G’s guidelines have clubbed the children with special needs with the EWS category. How will they get admission now?” the senior advocate asked.
The court has now directed the schools which have the required facilities to reserve three seats for the mentally challenged children as an interim measure.