The Delhi High Court on 3 April directed the Union Government as well as State government to treat “children with special needs” (CWSN) separate from children belonging to the economically weaker sections (EWS) and the disadvantaged group during admissions in schools, both nursery and higher classes.
A Division Bench comprising Justice S. Ravindra Bhat and Justice R.V. Easwar had ordered this direction on public interest litigation.
The petitioner, Pramod Arora, and parent of a child with special needs had argued that with great difficulties his child got admission in a Delhi school last year however, the ward failed to progress due to lack of proper attention and infrastructure for children with special needs. He added that the well-equipped Schools in terms of infrastructure and personnel to handle such children in the state are insufficient. Furthermore, the nature of the guidelines makes the chances of getting a seat by the children very little in these few institutions.
Approving the Plea, the Bench said: “This Court is therefore of the opinion that the petitioner’s argument is merited and has to prevail. First, the imperative of Section 26 [of The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act 1995] is that the Government has to ensure that all CWSN are given access to education till age 18.”
The Court during hearing directed the city Government to make a zone-wise list of all public and private educational institutions that caters CWSN. The list must cover full details as to the nature of disability the institutions are able to cater to, the facilities available, whether residential or day-boarding, and the contact details for the concerned authority in that institution in case of any clarifications.
Furthermore, the Court had also asked to set up a nodal agency under the authority of the Department of Education (DoE) with an aim to process all applications pertaining to admission of CWSN.
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