High Court order asking schools to give students gadgets, Net packages stayed


Delhi govt. had moved SC against the order delivered last year

The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed a Delhi High Court order asking private unaided and government schools to provide gadgets and Internet packages to students from economically weaker section (EWS) or disadvantaged group for online classes initiated during the COVID-19 lockdown.

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde decided to examine the Delhi government’s appeal against the High Court judgment of September 18 last year. “Issue notice. In the meantime, there shall be stay of operation of the impugned order of the High Court,” it recorded in its order on a petition filed by NGO ‘Justice for All’.

Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for the Delhi government, submitted that the High Court order had placed an additional burden on the State.

The High Court had said the absence of gadgets and Internet packages to poor students for online classes was preventing children from pursuing elementary education. It said private unaided schools “shall be entitled to claim reimbursement of reasonable cost for procurement of the equipment and Internet package from the State under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, even though the State is not providing the same to its students”.

The High Court also directed the constitution of a three-member committee, comprising education secretary from the Centre or his nominee, Delhi government’s education secretary or his nominee and a representative of the private schools, to expedite and streamline the process of identifying and supplying the gadgets to poor and disadvantaged students.

The High Court had said the committee should frame standard operating procedures (SOPs) for identifying the standard of the equipment and Internet package to be supplied to disadvantaged students.

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