Delhi HC Rebukes Government for Delay in Textbook Distribution

The Delhi High Court was dissatisfied with the Delhi government for failing to issue textbooks to students in classes 6–8, studying in municipal schools.

The Case

The court was hearing a petition brought by a non-profit organization, Social Jurist, that highlighted the failure of Delhi government schools to provide full-time education to pupils.

Counsel Ashok Agarwal for petitioner NGO ‘Social Jurist’ stated that he had been informed that textbooks had not been delivered to students. The petition emphasizes the absence of textbooks and furnishings in several district schools, including GGSSS Khajoori Khas, GGSSS East Gokal Pur, SKV C-1 Yamuna Vihar, GGSSS Sonia Vihar, and GGSSS Bhajanpura, among others.

Government’s Response

The Delhi government, in response, presented a comprehensive action report outlining a schedule to address various concerns. According to the report, procurement of dual desks is slated for completion by July 2024. Textbook distribution commenced on April 22 of the current year and is expected to conclude by May 10, before the onset of summer vacations. Furthermore, writing materials have already been provided to all enrolled students and will continue to be supplied until the admissions process is finalized.

The Delhi government’s standing counsel, Santosh K. Tripathi, affirmed that they have established a timeline for procuring dual desks. Additionally, he noted that certain schools have shifted from temporary tin structures to permanent buildings, and a temporary porta building is currently in use and will continue until construction is finished. Upon completion of the construction, all students will be moved to permanent facilities.

The official explained the delay in a change in curriculum, stating that although printing was in the works, there was no break in courses because students were given old textbooks for the time being.

Court’s response

A bench chaired by acting chief justice Manmohan expressed dismay after an official from the Directorate of Education admitted to the delay in publishing study materials from classes 6 to 8.

The court expressed regret over the fact that children in the initial phase of the academic year had essentially been deprived of necessary educational materials. The HC concluded the proceedings in the petition and scheduled it for compliance on October 8.

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About the Author: Hemansh Tandon