Indian Catholic News

Court modifies order on St. Mary’s School

The high court stated in its modified order that the word "reserve" is substituted by the words "keep vacant."

Bombay High Court

The Bombay high court has modified its earlier order which stated that the St Mary's School in Pune Camp "shall reserve" 25 per cent seats for children belonging to weaker sections and disadvantaged groups of society as provided under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009.

The high court division bench of justices V M Kanade and K R Shriram stated in its modified order on July 11 that the word "reserve" is substituted by the words "keep vacant".

The modification came after the the petitioner made an application submitting that it did not mention that the said seats should be kept vacant until further orders.

The bench has since ruled, "In our view, it is obvious that there is a typographical mistake in the said order and it is clarified that the petitioner shall keep 25 per cent seats vacant. In the order, the word 'reserve' therefore is substituted by the word 'keep vacant'. The order is accordingly modified."

The matter is now expected to be heard on August 8, considering that the court has extended the returnable date for the notices issued to the respondents, including the Pune zilla parishad (ZP) education officer, by four weeks.

Representatives of non-aided minority schools here have expressed their satisfaction over the modified order as the high court - in another petition filed by the Bishop's education society regarding its schools at Pune Camp, Kalyaninagar and Undri - is dealing with the question as to what constitutes "aid".

This is in view of the Supreme Court's ruling that the RTE Act is applicable to aided minority schools only and is not applicable to non-aided minority schools.

The St Mary's School, relying on the high court's May 15 order in the Bishop's Schools matter, had pleaded for an interim stay on the ZP education officer's May 5 order.

The ZP order had directed the school to cancel its admission process for academic year 2013-14 for not adhering to the provisions of the RTE Act regarding 25 per cent quota.

The Bishop's education society has claimed the status of a non-aided minority institution and has argued that it is not bound by RTE provisions.

However, the ZP, which had directed the Bishop's Schools to cancel their admissions process for 2013-14 for not adhering to the 25 per cent quota under the RTE Act, has contested the society's claim.

The ZP has submitted in the court that the Bishop's School in Pune Camp is located on land granted by the central government on lease at a concessional rate, while the schools in Kalyaninagar and Undri were receiving aid in the form of concession in property tax.

The court observed that whether concession in property tax could be considered as "aid" was a matter that required debate. It has since allowed the Bishop's Schools to fill up 75 per cent seats on a first-come-first basis, while admissions to the remaining 25 per cent seats shall be subject to further orders. The Bishop's matter is slated to be next heard on August 5.

Source: times of india

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