This article is written by – Abhishree Paradkar, Symbiosis Law School, Pune
Following a presently active door to door survey that was being conducted by the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department for the children that fall in the age group of 0 to 18 years, it was found that over 1,26,245 children between the age of three to six years are not going to school. It also recorded that the 33,344 children between the age group of 6 to 18 years of age are not going to school and over 9,716 children have not been enrolled in any school at all.
According to a report that was submitted on 26th July to the Karnataka High Court, the urban areas apart from Bengaluru show that 8,781 children between the age group of 6 to 18 years are not going to school . Furthermore over 4,800 children living in urban areas have not been enrolled in any school at all.
ARGUMENT BY THE PARTIES
The senior advocate appearing as amicus curiae showed that as par sub rule (1) of rule 6 of Karnataka right of children to free and compulsory education rules, 2012 it is necessary to carry out house to house service food all the children falling between the age group of 0 to 14 years and the rural development and panchayat Raj department has conducted a step-by-step survey of children in the age group of 0 to 18 years. He also said that the survey is intended to be conducted by the local body, namely, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP),who did not commence the same. He then showed that the BBMP wishes to conduct the house-to-house survey relating to children who fall in the age group of 6 to 14 years and are out of school.
OBSERVATIONS MADE BY THE COURT
A division bench consisting of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice NS Sanjay Gowda agreed to the fact that the survey which is to be conducted by the BBMP should be in accordance with the survey that was conducted by the rural development and panchayat Raj department.
The Court then provided directions to the secretary of Urban Development department to provide directions to the BBPM for conducting door to door survey which is at par with the door-to-door survey that was conducted according to the directions given by the rural development and panchayat Raj department. Furthermore, the data that shall be collected during the survey shall be compiled in the manner that is suggested in clause (1) of the recommendations provided by the amicus curiae.
Furthermore, it also stated that apart from ordering the department of Urban Development to do what is needed, the court also proposed for them to issue directions to the BBMP. The court ordered the judicial registrar to issue a notice through the chief commissioner to the BBMP using the official email ID of BBMP and call them to represent themselves before the court on the next hearing.
The court recognized that the present issue pertaining to a large number of children who are either not attending or not getting admitted to school, is a serious one and therefore, the State Government must respond to the same.
The court also clarified that sub rule one of Rule 6 of rules of 2012, the BBMP falls under an obligation to conduct surveys for children in the age group of 0 to 14 years. However, the BBMP does not have to wait for the directions provided by the court and it can commence with the door-to-door service for children falling in the age group of 0 to 18 years.
These directions were issued by the court on a suo motu petition, which was based on reports by media highlighting that a large number of children had been dropping out of school. The matter is scheduled to be heard next on 24th August 2021.