New Delhi: Delhi High Court on Friday issued instructions to private schools and government schools to provide laptops and internet packages to poor children for online classes. Has ordered to be held. The court said that the lack of such facilities produces ‘discrimination’ and ‘digital apartheid’.
He said that due to non-availability of equipment, such students studying in the same class will feel ‘inferior feeling’ compared to other students which can affect their ‘mind and brain’. A bench of Justice Manmohan and Justice Sanjeev Narula said that if a school decides to conduct classes through the online system itself, they ‘must ensure that the economically weaker sections (EWS) or the disadvantaged group fall under the category Students should also have similar facilities and equipment.
Violation of provisions of Right to Education Act-2009
The court said that in the current era of the epidemic, not providing the necessary equipment to such students, especially the provisions of the Right to Education Act, 2009, would be violated. He also said that non-financed private schools are eligible to receive reimbursement from the state under the Right to Education Act-2009 for purchasing equipment and internet packages even though the state does not provide this facility to its students.
The bench has directed to constitute a three-member committee for the smooth process of identifying poor and disadvantaged students and supplying equipment. The committee will comprise the education secretary or their representative of the centre, the education secretary or representative of the Delhi government and the representative of private schools.
Public Interest Litigation
The court also said that the committee will also formulate Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to identify the standard of equipment and internet packages to be given to poor and disadvantaged students. The bench said that this will ensure uniformity in the equipment and internet packages used by all poor and disadvantaged students.
This decision was given by the court on the PIL of Justice NGO ‘Justice for All’. In a petition filed through advocate Khagesha Jha, the organization had requested the Center and the Delhi government to provide mobile phones, laptops or tablets to poor children so that they too can take advantage of the online classes that are being held due to Covid-19 lockdown.
The NGO had argued that 50,000 students of EWS would be affected by the decision to conduct classes through video conferences on behalf of unaided private schools as they were not able to afford the service of laptops, mobile phones and high-speed internet.
He said that if a school decides to conduct classes through the online system itself, they ‘must ensure that the economically weaker sections (EWS) or the disadvantaged group fall under the category Students should also have similar facilities and equipment.