Maharashtra telling BMC to compromise RTE rules

Brihanmumbai Mahapalika Shikshak Sabha said CM assured regularisation of schools that do not conform to RTE Act norms

Brihanmumbai Mahapalika Shikshak Sabha said CM assured regularisation of schools that do not conform to RTE Act norms

Even as the state government is threatening to take action against private schools not adhering to Right to Education (RTE), a teachers’ committee of civil schools has accused the CM of not being serious about it. The state government has asked the BMC to “compromise the rules” and be sympathetic to schools not following RTE. The committee has said that it will highlight the letter in the court during the hearing of their petition on the same issue.

The Brihanmumbai Mahapalika Shikshak Sabha (BMSS) has criticised chief minister Devendra Fadnavis for assuring regularisation of schools that do not conform to RTE Act norms and said that the CM has bypassed the high court, which is hearing a case against the illegal schools. The BMSS has asked BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta to refrain from heeding to the letter issued by the CM’s office till the court case is not complete.

According to the BMSS, the BMC commissioner received a letter from the urban development department asking him to “compromise the rules as much as possible on overall grounds and take a sympathetic approach at the non-fulfilment of compulsory norms by the schools”.

On May 30, a delegation of school managements led by MLC Kapil Patil met Mr Fadnavis and requested that hurdles in their regularisation and approval raised by the BMC be relaxed. The chief minister had assured them that he would issue instructions to the BMC to look into the matter and comply in accordance with the law.

The urban development department letter prompted the BMSS to blame the CM of bypassing the court. “In all, 334 private aided and 584 unaided private schools guilty of flouting RTE Act norms are the beneficiaries of this assurance of the CM. The BMSS has filed a petition against these schools and any action in this regard would lead to contempt of court and till the court does not issue an order the state government should have refrained from passing any order,” said BMSS general secretary Ramesh Joshi.

He added that after the enactment of the RTE Act in 2009, the schools had been given a period of three years to comply with the norms. The court had given them a further extension that ended in April 2015, but the schools failed to comply. “In light of this, the government should have cancelled their approval and termed them as illegal, but rather than doing so, the CM has assured them of being regularised which is against the spirit and principle of the law and hence we have written to the BMC commissioner to refrain from complying with the instructions of the CM till the court gives its order on the issue,” said Mr Joshi. The case came up for hearing on Tuesday and the court will be dictating its order on August 2.

On being asked about the same, the chief minister’s office said they were unaware of the issue and the letter to the BMC commissioner may have been issued by the education minister Vinod Tawde’s office. Mr Tawde was not available for comment.

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