The Bombay High Court has asked the Maharashtra government to inform by November 21 what action it has taken against education officers who are responsible for allowing unauthorised schools to mushroom in the state. The direction was given by Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice M S Sanklecha on October 7 while hearing a PIL alleging inaction by the government against unauthorised schools.
Government Pleader N P Deshpande sought time to seek instructions on whether the state government had appointed any officer to grant previous sanction for prosecution of officers under Section 36 of 'Right of children to free and compulsory education Act' for not acting against unauthorised schools. Under the Act, the officers found guilty of allowing illegal schools to flourish in the state can be prosecuted only if previous sanction is obtained from an officer authorised by the government. The judges granted the government pleader time till November 21 to inform what steps the government has taken against the guilty education officers for allowing unauthorised secondary and primary schools to operate in the state.
The Director of Education filed an affidavit, indicating that there were 189 unauthorised secondary schools in the state as on August 21. In Mumbai west, there were 27 such schools, in Thane 33 and Kolhapur 43. Such unauthorised secondary schools were also found in districts of Raigad, Nashik, Jalgaon, Pune, Satara, Sangli, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg, the affidavit pointed out.
Another affidavit filed by Director of Education for primary schools affirmed there were 243 unauthorised primary schools in the state, including 128 in Mumbai, 22 in Pune, 94 in Kolhapur and 12 in Nasik.
The state government had published an advertisement in newspapers appealing to parents not to send their children to such unauthorised secondary schools in the state. The ads had clearly stated that the government proposed to take action against such schools under the Act.
Such schools are liable to pay fine which may extend upto Rs one lakh and in case of continuing contraventions, they would have to pay a fine of Rs 10,000 for each day of the period of contravention. PTI SVS NSK SRS BAS 10121509 NNNN