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Defence Ministry not giving land to shift 99-yr-old school: AAP government to Delhi High Court

The AAP government has told the Delhi High Court that since the Centre was refusing to hand over land to shift a 99-year-old school, whose building is in a dilapidated state, the students studying there would be relocated to other schools from the next academic year.

At a meeting held on November 28 last pursuant to orders of the high court to work out a solution regarding the future of the school, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has asked the Directorate of Education (DoE) to shift the school to another site, the Delhi government has told the court.

In an affidavit placed before a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao, the DoE has said that in view of the stand taken by the MoD, it has no other option but to relocate the students to other schools in the next academic year.

It has urged the court to direct the ministry to provide an alternate piece of land to construct a school building or to hand over the site where it is located now.

According to the minutes, the MoD has said that the 99-year-old Rajputana Rifles Heroes Memorial Senior Secondary School was presently located on defence land which was not in accordance with the Cantonment Land Administration Rules.

The delegation representing the army and the ministry said no land was available to be handed over to the DoE to shift the school and suggested that students studying there be relocated to other schools being run by the state government in the cantonment area.

The MoD has also said that while the building has been repaired on orders of the high court, it has “outlived its fair life” and was “unsafe for habitation”.

The ministry has further said that the school can run in the building in the current academic year as it was about to end, but not after that.

The court had directed convening of a joint meeting of DoE and MoD while hearing a PIL by NGO Social Jurist which has alleged that the school, taken over by the Delhi government in 1975 and getting 100 per cent aid from it, was in a horrible condition.

Advocate Ashok Agarwal, appearing for the NGO, had earlier said around 450 students are studying in the school, built in 1919, and they have been unjustly deprived of adequate physical infrastructure and academic faculty.

The plea has said though the school is open for all, it mainly caters to the children of servants of military officials who are not in a position to educate their kids in private schools.

It has alleged that the school lacks basic amenities, including potable drinking water, functional toilets, science and computer labs, clean classrooms and proper boundary wall and several posts of teaching staff are lying vacant.

The petition has sought a direction that the existing building of the school be demolished and rebuilt as a state-of -the-art school.

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