Expressing anguish over the government’s failure to print and distribute free books to over 18 lakh poor students in state-run schools, the Delhi High Court on Friday sought an explanation for the delay.
A division bench of acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice R.S. Endlaw sought an explanation from the education director by April 25.
The court expressed concern that even after the commencement of the new academic session the poor students in Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and Delhi government schools were without books.
“How would the students do their home work in summer vacations without the books?” asked the court.
“Why have you not started the process of tendering and printing books in advance?”
The judges’ remark came after advocate Ashok Agarwal brought to their notice that over 10 lakh students studying in MCD primary schools and eight lakh students in state government schools were without books.
Agrawal told the court that the study material including bags, textbooks, exercise books and pencils should have been given to the students on the day their annual result was declared in March.
“Failing to do so, is no less a criminal negligence on the part of the authorities and it also makes a mockery of the right to education,” Agarwal said.
The Delhi Bureau of Textbooks, an autonomous body supervised by the education directorate, has the copyright over National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) textbooks which it reprints in Hindi. But it is yet to print and supply new books in the current session.
The books printed by the bureau are bought by all government and government-aided schools and distributed to students free.