IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI
CM NO. 10352 OF 2005
WP (C) NO. 3156 OF 2002
IN THE MATTER OF:
Social Jurist... ...Petitioners
Govt of NCT Delhi & Ors... ...Respondents
AND IN THE MATTER OF:
Gita Dewan Verma... ...Applicant / Intervener
AND IN THE MATTER OF:
APPLICATION ON BEHALF OF THE APPLICANT/ INTERVENER UNDER ARTICLE 226 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA READ WITH SECTION 151 CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE FOR LEAVE TO INTERVENE IN THE ABOVE MENTIONED WRIT PETITION
MOST RESPECTFULLY SHOWETH:
- That the Applicant is a qualified planner, representing the Petitioner in WP (C) No. 8954/2003, a forum of citizens’ groups from all sections, as represented by Petitioners in WP (C) Nos. 8955-59/2003. The said petitions in the matter of the Delhi Master Plan (DMP-2001) neighbourhood school plan were disposed off by this Hon’ble Court by order of 27/10/04 against violations, in context of which an intervention application, CMP No. 3073/2005, has been filed in one of the batch matters in which several schools have assailed the directive issued by GNCTD pursuant to order of 20/01/04 in the instant matter, which were heard on 18/08/05 and listed for 27/09/05. Also on 18/08/05 further directions were given in the instant matter, which is listed on 25/08/05.
- That the Applicant is filing this intervention in context of the order passed by this Hon’ble Court on 27/10/04 in WP (C) No. 8954-59/2003 and of CMP No. 3073/2005 already filed in same context. The said order is relevant to the instant proceedings since it favours a different approach from the one being taken (and, in the instant proceedings, urged by the Petitioner) for compliance of order of 20/01/04, which itself does not favour any particular approach, as will be noticed herein below. A copy of CMP No. 3073/2005 (including order of 27/10/04 as Annexure-I.R.1) is annexed herewith as ANNEXURE-01.
- That development, disposal and use of land in Delhi is governed by Delhi Development Act and, regardless of who owns or allots it, use in conformity with Master Plan is mandatory. Accordingly, use of school sites and terms for their allotment must be viewed in context of DMP-2001 provisions that stipulate, inter alia, numbers and types of schools for given population and, for each type, maximum access distance, area and enrolment size. These articulate a scheme, consonant with Neighbourhood School Plan recommended by Kothari Commission for Common School System, for adequate schools for all and mainly local students in the ‘community’ (defined as 1 lakh population with all sections, including 25% EWS). For each ‘community’, DMP-2001 envisages 40 nursery, 20 primary, 13 secondary, 2 integrated and 2 special (for handicapped) schools of common minimum standard in terms of area of site, building, playground and parking for, per class, about 2000 local (including 500 EWS) and 200 non-local students. The 25% free-seats condition is an instrumentality of this scheme, not exercisable contrary to its purpose or expediency.
- That WP(C) Nos. 8954-59/2003 included a report that the Applicant submitted to authorities in 2001 about violations impeding the DMP-2001 scheme – viz, use of sites meant for small schools for larger ones (in violation of layout plan stipulations and site norms) with non-local enrolment (in violation of distance norms) and consequent commercialisation and exclusion of local students (in violation of condition requiring schools not to refuse admission to them), with the poor worst affected (in violation of free-seats condition), resulting in overcrowding and consequent problems in government schools. The counter-affidavits filed reveal that misuse – causal illegality spawning sequential violations – owes, besides to wilful violations by some schools unchecked by DDA or GNCTD, to failures on part of MCD and GNCTD to utilize sites for government schools and, most significantly, to GNCTD recommendations / permissions for allotments and use in contravention of DMP-2001 (as noted in order of this Hon’ble Court).
- That the focus on violations (by schools) of the free seats condition is diverting attention from more substantive violations (by authorities) of the scheme that the condition is meant to help enforce. An impression has been created through media that this is required by orders of this Hon’ble Court, whereas it is, in fact, contrary to them, as follows:
- (a) This Hon’ble Courts order of 20/01/04 – far from directing action against ubiquitous breach of a condition whose compliance requires an enabling neighbourhood school plan – required from GNCTD such a framework with the directions “to point out to the DDA wherever a breach is committed” and “If there are no rules for admission… to see that the rules are framed” – ie, inputs for detailed planning (under Delhi Development Act) and a regime for enforcement (under Delhi School Education Act), consonant with responsibilities cast upon GNCTD by the Delhi Development Act. However, in purported compliance of the order for considered steps to secure integration of 25% EWS students, GNCTD used it to issue arbitrary directive for 20% BPL quota, which admissions to two academic years have shown is of no use to students.
- (b) The order passed by this Hon’ble Court on 27/10/04 in WP (C) Nos. 8954-59/2003 specifically notes layout plan violations and says:
- “The learned counsel for Delhi Development Authority (for short “DDA”) submitted that no permission has been obtained from the DDA. It is clear that when a layout plan has been prepared, any variation thereon must be according to the law. If any change is required to be made in such a plan, then only DDA can take appropriate action. In such a situation, it is for the Education Department to move the DDA for making necessary changes in the layout plan. So far as the other violaters are concerned, it is pointed out on behalf of the DDA that show cause notices have been issued to the persons who have violated the conditions and it is assured that action will be taken against such violators in accordance with law after considering their replies. Let the action be taken within a period of 12 weeks. With this direction the petition is disposed off.”
- Evidently, the direction for action applies equally to GNCTD Education Department and to “other violaters”. For the latter, delay in action (subject to “consideration of their replies”) may find excuse in pendency of the batch matters, but there is no reason for delay by Education Department, especially since direction of 27/10/04 “to move the DDA for making necessary changes in the layout plan” is, in effect, an extension of the one of 20/01/04 “to point out to the DDA wherever a breach is committed”. However, despite representations (Annexures I.R.2.(Colly) and I.R.3.(Colly) in CMP No 3073/2005), no steps have been taken in this regard.
- That DMP-2001 allows, within limits of Community entitlements, flexibility for progressive rectification of violations, possibilities in which regard are illustrated in Annexure-I.R.4 in CMP No.3073/2005. However, amidst claims of efforts about free-seats violation, the causal violations continue to be perpetuated with impunity. For instance:
- (a) MCD’s fee-based property-tax categories for schools includes one called ‘commercial’ and it is also allowing parking outside school premises against ‘misuse-charge’, even as such measures are contrary to order of 27/10/04 in WP (C) 8954-59/2003 (in which MCD claimed no role while undertaking to abide by the directions).
- (b) GNCTD, instead of providing DDA details of its plan violations as per direction in order of 27/10/04 or even of free-seats violations as per direction in order of 20/01/04, published on 09/03/05 a notice to reiterate its 20% BPL directive – after schools had assailed it and been granted limited stay.
- (c) DDA, instead of taking steps to rectify violations pursuant to order of 27/10/04, reportedly wrote to GNCTD about the allotment condition requiring it to have two nominees on governing bodies of schools – to facilitate action against violation of free-seats condition
- Typed copies of letters dated 01/03/05, 09/03/05 and 10/04/05 to, respectively, MCD Commissioner, Education Director and DDA VC in regard to the above are annexed herewith as ANNEXURE-02 (Colly).
- That failure of the patently futile attempts to enforce free-seats in isolation from the enabling neighbourhood school plan is being used to justify ‘options’ like learning-centres and afternoon-schools, being vigorously advocated even as they perpetuate the very duality that is sought to be eliminated and waste on that pursuit resources that neighbourhood school plan would meaningfully absorb. Typed copies of letters of 22/03/05 to Education Director, of 10/05/05 to Hon’ble LG and 10/06/05 to Secretary MoHRD (through whom UoI is impleaded in the batch matters) for consideration of the Intervener’s suggestions for rectification of violations set out in Annexure-I.R.4 of CMP 3073/2005 (with reference to suggestion of afternoon-school option by the Petitioner schools) are annexed herewith as ANNEXURE-03 (Colly).
- That the DMP-2001 neighbourhood school plan is perhaps the only comprehensive statutory articulation of the Common School System recommendation of Kothari Commission. However, despite this Hon’ble Court’s order of 27/10/04 complementing order of 20/01/04, the coincident draft Education Bill does not draw upon it and the coincident draft Master Plan 2021 abandons the DMP-2001 scheme to legitimise violations and duality-promoting ‘options’. Public Notice inviting objections and suggestions on Master Plan 2021 was issued under s.11A of Delhi Development Act on 08/04/05 and in response thereto comprehensive comment in context of WP (C) 8954-59/2003 and CMP 3073/2003 has been filed and awaits enquiry and hearing by the duly appointed Board comprising of, among others, DDA Vice Chairman and MCD Commissioner, from whom are also awaited replies to communications about non-compliance of Order of 27/10/04 and ‘ATR’ as per forwarding of the same by GNCTD Chief Secretary. That the purpose of this intervention is to ensure that order passed by this Hon’ble Court on 20/01/04 in the instant matter is read with its order of 27/10/04 in WP (C) 8954-59/2003 so that appropriate further orders and directions may be issued by this Hon’ble Court.
In the circumstances, the applicant, prays that this Hon’ble Court may be pleased to:
a) permit the applicant to intervene in this matter and make submissions at the time of arguments; and
b) pass such other order or orders as this Hon’ble Court may deem fit.
Annexure-01: True copy of CMP No. 3073/2005 in WP (C) No. 15436/2004 (Action Committee of Unaided Schools v/s Director of Education & Ors) here1
Annexure-02 (Colly): Typed copies of letters questioning administrative decisions in the context of order of 27/10/04 in WP (C) No.8954-59/2003 and CMP No.3073/2005:
- (a) Letter dated 01/03/05 to MCD Commissioner here2
- (b) Letter dated 09/03/05 to GNCTD Education Director here3
- (c) Letter dated 10/04/05 to DDA Vice-Chairman here4
Annexure-03 (Colly): Typed copies of letters questioning, in context of CMP No. 3073/2005, Petitioners’ suggestions of illegal ‘options’ for free-ships and seeking consideration of Intervenor’s suggestions for rectification of violations (Annexure-I.R.4):
- (a) Letter dated 22/03/05 to GNCTD Education Director here5
- (b) Letter dated 10/05/05 to Hon’ble Lieutenant Governor here6
- (c) Letter dated 10/06/05 to Secretary MoHRD here7
- 1. MPISG application for intervention in free-seats litigation Filed: 28/02/2005; mentioned: 02/03/2005
- 2. MCD "misuse-charges"
- 3. Letter to GNCTD Education Director (09/03/2005)
- 4. "DDA wants govt watchdogs in schools" (10/04/05)
- 5. Letter to Education Director (22/03/2005)
- 6. Letter to LG about the schools matter in court
- 7. Letter to Secretary MoHRD (10/06/05)