The Delhi High Court was on Tuesday told by the city government that it has complied with its order to issue a circular to around 51 schools in the national capital which may be having facilities to handle children with special needs (CWSN) in nursery class.
The submission was made in an affidavit filed before a bench headed by Justice S Ravindra Bhat by the Directorate of Education (DoE) in pursuance to a contempt notice issued to it for wilful default of the court’s orders to issue the circular.
The DoE issued the circular on May 19, three days after the bench had warned it would initiate contempt action against the DoE if it found that there was “wilful default”.
DoE in its affidavit denied having committed any contempt of the court’s order and sought that the contempt plea and notice be discharged.
Though the court exempted the Principal Secretary of Education from personal appearance, it rejected DoE’s plea, observing the matter would be kept pending till implementation of the circular to keep aside two seats in each of the 51 schools mentioned in the petition. The court will hear the matter on May 29.
The court was hearing a contempt plea filed by Pramod Arora, filed through senior advocate Kirti Uppal and advocate Anshumaan Sahni, alleging the court’s May 7 order to issue the circular has not been complied with.
Arora, father of a differently-abled child, had initially challenged the Lt Governor’s nursery admission guidelines which clubbed CWSN with kids belonging economically weaker section (EWS) category.
Pursuant to this, the high court had held that the clubbing of CWSN with EWS for nursery admissions was illegal.
Meanwhile, some of the schools mentioned in the main petition today appeared before the court in pursuance to the notices issued to them.
In view of several of the schools saying they do not have the facilities to cater to CWSN while one said it has admitted two such children, the bench directed all 51 schools to inform it about the facilities they have for differently-abled children and whether they have admitted such children in the current academic year.
The DoE in its affidavit has also submitted that “private schools are not adequately equipped for the needs of disabilities like autism, palsy and multiple disorders or even for blindness or deaf and dumb children.”
“Until and unless, expert from medical, psychology and teaching fields deliberate and discuss the subject, true purpose of granting benefits to disabled children would be a farfetched dream. It is further submitted that the department was endeavouring to first identify the exact facilities needed and available in private schools for particular kind of disability.
“Inspections were carried out by the department in respect of the list of 44 schools. However, there was no satisfactory finding by the team inspecting the facilities available in private schools. In these circumstances, the department was deliberating the terms in which the circular is to be issued so that the CWSN are actually able to benefit by going to a particular private school,” the DoE has said.
It also said there was delay in issuance of the circular as DoE was swamped with a large number of litigations emanating as a result of the LG’s December 18, 2013 nursery admission guidelines.
It said there was no intention to commit wilful default of the court’s orders.