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Operating in tin sheds from Eidgah, razed during Emergency, give Delhi Urdu school land, building: HC orders

By Our Representative
Acting Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court division bench Gita Mittal has asked the lieutenant governor (LG), Delhi, to restore the Urdu-medium Qaumi Senior Secondary School, demolished nearly four decades ago, during Emergency, asking the Delhi government to find a place for rebuilding it. It is currently being run on borrowed land of the Delhi Eidgah ground in tin sheds.
The HC also directed the Delhi government to meet all the stake holders to find a solution to provide adequate land and building for the institution. An action taken report is to be submitted for consideration of the court by December 5.
The Delhi Development Authority, the Delhi government, the Waqf Board and all other stake holders were asked to prepare a special report as to why the poor children of the walled city area of Bara Hindu Rao and Sarai Khalil were deprived of their right to education by refusing to allocate land for building the beleaguered school.
The Eidgah
Counsel Atyab Siddiqui of the petitioner, a social activist, emphasized that that the interests of poor students were being turned into a tussle between the Delhi government, LG and the Centre.
Referring to the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, Atyab Siddiqui highlighted that the Delhi government was obliged to provide land and building for the poor cajoled students of the Qaumi School.
He said that the school was constructed during the post-Partition phase, using funds arranged by Muslims, who had decided to stay back rather than choosing to go to Pakistan. However, their wards are now left to fend for themselves under the tin sheds where attending the classes in terrible summers and chilling winters is a havoc.
Sanjay Ghosh, the counsel for the Delhi government, suggested that the school may be closed and the children can be accommodated in other government institutions. 
However, Siddiqui rebutted by stating that the institution was a Muslim minority school and adjustment of these students in Municipal Corporation of Delhi schools can have various crucial culturo-religious issues, and that such a skewed approach was highly undesirable.
According to petitioner Firoz Bakht, the Qaumi School, demolished on June 30, 1976, was shifted from Sarai Khalil in Sadar Bazaar to the Eidgah land in Quresh Nagar, where it has been functioning as a makeshift institution from the tented and tinned premises. He added that nothing had been done to restore the school despite promises for allotting land and building.
Siddiqui said, the Eidgah Committee was putting pressure on the school authorities to vacate the land in order to utilize the area for religious activities.
“Under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, it is obligatory on the State to provide infrastructure including a school building. The civic authorities have failed to discharge the statutory onus,” said the petition. The school runs classes up to the senior secondary level.
Ahmed drew the Court’s attention to the “hostile and inclement environment” which was not conducive to learning. “With competition at the school leaving board examinations reaching stupendous proportions, children from such schools are placed at a huge disadvantage from the very inception of their schooling life,” he said in the petition.
The minority institution, catering to poor students, was shifted from Sarai Khalil to the Eidgah lawns because of non-availability of suitable land anywhere else. It was launched in 1948 with 23 rooms in a building, which was razed during the Emergency in 1976.

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