Srinagar: The high court has asked the government to reply within three weeks to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking 25% reservation for underprivileged students in prominent missionary schools in the state as also the accounts of land granted on lease to such institutions.
A bench of justices Muzaffar Hussain Attar and BS Walia sought the reply from the chief secretary, commissioner secretaries of education and revenue departments besides the principals of some prominent missionary schools—Tyndale Biscoe, Mallinson, Burn Hall and Presentation Convent.
The PIL has been filed by ‘social activist’ Ahsan Untoo, who has alleged that the state has leased high-value land in some commercial hubs of the state at nominal rent to a few big players in the private sector.
He has said the state has not even fixed the annual rent to be recovered from these institutions. He said he has gathered this information through the Right to Information Act.
“The lease must have a condition for promotion of quality education in the area providing an opportunity even to the under-privileged class of students to integrate with such institutions,” he said, and requested the court to direct the authorities concerned to ensure that 25% of seats in all private schools are reserved for underprivileged students.
He urged the court to direct the government to file a status report regarding the leased land currently under possession of private schools along with the tenure of the lease, rent recoverable from all them and the conditions of the lease granted to the institutions.
Untoo also blamed the state for ignoring the promotion of the public sector system of education even as he demanded a comprehensive education policy be devised in the state.
He said the state has no policy which will command a system of accountability from the concerned.
“Due to the lack of a full proof accountability system, the public system of education has seen a downfall and has made the entire society skeptical about the future of the children enrolled in the government institutions,” he said, underlining that government teachers don’t enroll their own children in the public schools.
On the other hand, he said, the private educational system has incorporated accountability which shows in the scintillating results produced by them.