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High Court asks LG, MCD, Delhi govt to provide land and building for Emergency-demolished Qaumi School

By Our Representative
Expressing displeasure over the “lackadaisical” way of handling the issue of Qaumi School, an Urdu medium minority school that was razed down during the Emergency, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked the Delhi Government, Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Delhi Waqf Board and the Municipal Council of Delhi (MCD)-South to build a school for the 700 odd students who study there in pathetic situation under extremities of unfavourable weather conditions.
The Qaumi Senior Secondary School has been functioning from under tin sheds at the Shahi Eidgah in Qasab Pura, after the building of the school was demolished during the Emergency in 1976. Maintaining that studying under tin shed is in violation of the Delhi Education Act, the division bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar stated that the Lieutenant-Governor (LG) and the Delhi government must sort out the matter of providing the land to the 1976 demolished beleaguered Qaumi School in the vicinity of the area where it was earlier built.
Chief Justice Mittal asserted that all the concerned agencies, rather than acquiring cold feet, must join heads together to give justice to the poor children, who have been deprived of their right to education. She also ordered that the LG must also look into the matter and along with the agencies and the Petitioner, must work to provide justice to the poor children.
The counsel for the petitioner, Atyab Siddiqui, stated, “Thanks mainly the intervention of the Delhi High Court that wisdom may don on the Delhi government! Now that previous strictures passed, it is a victory for the constitutional right to education to the underprivileged!”
The school has been functioning in this condition for the last 42 years. Ironically, it was built by those residents of the walled city areas, who defied Partition and decided to live in India starting this Qaumi School. Firoz Bakht Ahmed, grandnephew of Maulana Azad and activist, filed the petition in the High Court in 2015.
The plea alleged that despite promises of land and building to the school after it was demolished in 1976 to make way for “Janata flats”, nothing was done over the years.
After the MCD filed an affidavit saying that, except the abandoned abattoir which was earmarked for the car parking lot, there was no land, the Court said that rather than earning money in car parking, it is of immense importance that the land, considered for building the school for the poor children coming from the deprived sections of the walled city areas of Bara Hindu Rao, Quresh Nagar, Qasab Pura, Sadar Bazaar and the adjoining areas.
The Chief Justice expressed her disappointment over the fact that despite asking all the agencies in her September 2017 Order to be concerned and compassionate for the cause of luckless students, nothing concrete in terms of meaningful action has come up on the part of the Delhi Government or the other agencies.
After the DDA counsel said that they could not provide any land from the 15-16 acre south side of the Eidgah to the school, the Court reprimanded him stating that this was a disputed land between the Delhi Waqf Board and the DDA and the need of the hour was to fries from such petty mindset to a vision of empathy and kind heartedness. There was also a consideration for the change of land use of the part of the DDA.
A petition by a group of parents demanding the petition of Bakht to be dismissed fearing that the school might be closed as it was running against the Right Free and compulsory Education Act 2009, was put aside. The school will run as status quo till a surrogate building comes up. The counsel representing the Delhi government conceded that the Directorate of Education would provide funds for the building but not the land.
The Court also asked the Delhi Waqf Board to take a sympathetic view of situation and sort out its dispute with the DDA to make way for giving land to the hapless Qaumi School.

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