Government cannot shirk its duty to establish schools citing financial burden: HC

Kochi: Directing the state government to establish schools with classes I to V within a neighbourhood of 1 km and classes VI to VIII within a neighbourhood of 3 km, a full bench of the Kerala High Court held that the state government cannot shirk its duty citing financial burden on the State exchequer.

A full bench comprising of Justice V. Chitambaresh, Justice Alexander Thomas and Justice Ashok Menon was considering writ petitions filed by educational agencies.

The agencies were aggrieved with the fact that their applications to restructure the schools by introducing classes in tune with the Right to Education Act are not favourably considered even afternine years.

The state defended the non consideration on the ground that transportation facilities have been provided and that a child can seek transfer to another school for completing elementary education.

Additional financial burden on the State exchequer to pay the teachers for the additional classes to be introduced in the schools was another aspect pointed out by the state.

Considering the submissions, the bench observed that the State Government cannot shirk its duty to establish schools having classes 1 to 5 every one kilometre and of schools having classes 6 to 8 every three kilometres as specified in Rule 6(1) of the Rules.

The State Government cannot wriggle out of its obligation under the Act on the premise that a child has got a right of transfer to other school under Section 5 of the Act, it added.

"Providing transportation facilities, by the State is for a specified contigency referred to earlier and is not a substitute to establish schools for elementary education. The statutory duty cast on the State under the Rules is not discharged by transportation facilities," the bench said, referring to rules of the Kerala Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Rules, 2011.

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