The Delhi High Court on Monday issued a notice to the Delhi government and others on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the construction of an upcoming commercial area and a multi-level car parking facility by demolishing a primary school established in 1927 at Karol Bagh in the national capital.
Directing to file responses in the matter, a Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Navin Chawla issued notice to North Delhi Municipal Corporation, Delhi Government, Omaxe Group, and Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) in relation to the North DMC’s decision to sell School land 4100 SQ Yard located at Bank Street Karol Bagh to Omaxe Group for Rs 181 crore.
Lawyer and activist Amit Sahni was knocking the doors of the High Court stating that the school’s land cannot be used for any other purpose except for running school.
“In 2019, the corporation stopped using the said building as a school by shifting the students to another school which is much smaller in size and does not have sufficient infrastructure such as a playground, open green area, among others,” Advocate Sahni stated.
The plea pointed out that the school at Bank Street measures about 4100 sq metres, while the other school the Shiv Nagar School is only about 1420 sq metres.
The Shiv Nagar School is now overcrowded and after Covid-19, more students are being enrolled in government schools as the parents are unable to afford private schools. The city government and corporation are duty-bound to provide free and compulsory education to the children up to 14 years and the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights is a statutory watchdog for the protection of Child Rights.
If the schools are permitted to be sold by the corporation, then the burden of providing compulsory education would shift on the government and thus they cannot shirk their constitutional obligation.
Further, the commission is also under statutory obligation to protect the rights of Children residing in Delhi, it said.
In 2019, the building of the school was taken over by the Horticulture Department since there are 43 (50 to 100 years old) trees planted within the campus, which would be demolished by the construction company, it said further.