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Restore Muslim school demolished during Emergency: Delhi High Court

By Our Representative
The Delhi High Court has asked the lieutenant governor and the Delhi government to restore the poor Qaumi School, demolished during the Emergency on June 30, 1976, by finding a place for its rebuilding. Currently, it is being run from the Delhi Eidgah ground, and operates in tin sheds.
At the same time, it directed the Delhi government to meet all the stake holders to find a solution to provide adequate land and building for the institution.
Acting Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court division bench Gita Mittal said, no matter to whom the land belongs to, it must be found out, and 1 to 2 acres should be given to the school, as it is the question of 722 innocent children who are studying under the tin shed.
She was responding to petitioner Firoz Bakht Ahmed, a social activist, who appeared in person, as advocate who his counsel Atyab Siddiqui on account of bereavement in family, could not appear in the court.
Bakht said, the Delhi chief secretary MM Kutty has ordered his law officer to find out the status of the land, about 15-16 acres, on which the school earlier stood. Some believe belongs to the Waqf Board, while others say, it is Delhi Development of Authority’s (DDA’s) or Municipal Corporation of Delhi’s (MCD’s). Till date there is no clarity on the owner of land, which DDA claims belongs to it and requires it for recreational purposes.
Suggesting that the manner in which the school is being run runs contrary to the Delhi Education Act, Justice Mittal said, no school should operate from under tin sheds. She reprimanded Sanjay Ghosh, Delhi government counsel, who did not submit the chief secretary’s report on the school on time.
When the counsel for DDA stated that the DDA can't give any land free of cost for any reason, Justice Mittal told him that the school that was demolished on June 30, 1976, had possessed its own ground plus four floor structure with 23 rooms as stated in the petition and must be compensated.
Bakht, referring to the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, highlighted that the Delhi government was obliged to provide land and building for the poor students of Qaumi School, under Sections 6, 7 and 8.
He said that the school was constructed during the post-Partition phase, using funds arranged by Muslims, who had decided to stay back in rather than choosing to go to Pakistan and as award, their wards are now to fend for themselves under the tin sheds where attending the classes in terrible summers and chilling winters is a havoc.
Bakht argued, 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 has been done to restore the school despite promises for allotment of land and building.
“Under RTE, 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 senior secondary level. The school was launched in 1948 with 23 rooms in a building.

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