WP 8954 OF 2003 by MPISG through its Planner, adopted by Rangpuri Pahari Vidyarthi Abhibhavak Manch (8955) & Ors

Note of 04 May 2004: FREE SEATS CONDITION IN DELHI SCHOOLS COMMON SCHOOL SYSTEM CONTEXT IMPERATIVES AND POSSIBILITIES

About enforcing free seats in compliance of court order for progressive implementation of CSS, sent to respondents, officials / groups leading the education bill discussions, co-petitioners, etc.

There have been several developments since Delhi High Court ordered enforcement of the free seats condition in Delhi schools. This note outlines from the legal context of this condition, which flows not from education law but from the Master Plan for Delhi, a different perspective on the issue.

Delhi Master Plan provisions for Common School System

The Master Plan for Delhi (MPD) sets out a schema for equal access neighbourhood schools, consistent with Common School System (CSS) (through parity for teachers, tuition-free education for all, integration of roles and a neighbourhood school plan) recommended by Kothari Commission, about which there is consensus.1 The MPD CSS provides legal strength to this consensus since land in Delhi, irrespective of who owns or allots it, cannot be used in contravention of MPD under Delhi Development Act.

MPD essentially stipulates numbers of various levels of schools with population for which they are to be located and standards for buildings, playgrounds, parking, etc.2 These provisions are designed to ensure adequate schools for all and mainly local population, a central principle of CSS, with further support from the lease condition requiring schools to not refuse admission to local students and, consistent with MPD provision for 25% housing for the poor in the local community, the condition for 25% free seats.

Free seats condition in context of MPD CSS

It is erroneous to connect the free seats condition to cheap land allotment (which arises from MPD (1962) assessment of urgency to develop schools) since equal access neighbourhood schools are mandatory under MPD CSS irrespective of price charged for school sites. The free seats condition can be connected only to CSS local enrollment objectives, also in view of Kothari Commission CSS recommendation of, ultimately, tuition-free education for all in neighbourhood schools. For integration in CSS the Commission recommended a well planned long-term approach, without which simplistic enforcement of free seats will not serve CSS goals, and under MPD also the free seats condition on its own has little meaning – if the poor are resettled faraway in violation of MPD they cannot benefit from it without personal travel / time costs and energy / environmental costs of increased traffic, if sites are mis-allotted / misused to encourage city-wide competitive enrollment then local, especially poor, students get left out, etc.

Counter-productivity of enforcing free seats in isolation

Developments following recent orders show attempts to enforce free seats in isolation are conflict-prone:

  • Some schools have made their disinclination to teach the poor obvious, including in the Supreme Court. This position, contrary to the consensus on CSS, shows schools as a class in poor light, locks schools and poor students in conflict and drags other students into this with the suggestion that they will be burdened by the favour to the poor, even as the truth is that schools and their students that have benefited at cost of rights of local communities, especially (but not limited to) poor students.
  • On behalf of the poor, the High Court has been approached on compliance and some organizations are getting students, such as in faraway resettlement colonies around which there are no or few private schools, to demand free seats. This demand, short of CSS education rights of those making it and possible to meet only by infringing rights of local students around schools elsewhere to which it is made, takes a beggarly position that reinforces the patronizing one being taken by some schools
  • Most unfortunate is the authorities’ response. What has happened is that GNCTD has been issuing essentiality certificates, upgradation permissions, etc, in violation of MPD CSS, both GNCTD and MCD have been running schools regardless of it, and DDA has been allotting sites and allowing their use in disregard of MPD. The lapses have been serious and now authorities appear to be trying to sweep them under the carpet, at the cost of allowing the free seats condition to become ‘controversial’ and, more significantly, disconnecting it from CSS on which there is consensus.

Enforcing free seats conditions with a view to progressive implementation of CSS

Extending enforcement of free seats in compliance of court orders to progressive implementation of CSS, besides being an imperative of planning law as well as of consensus in principle on CSS (also central to Education Bill discussions), can potentially provide elbow room to break the emergent deadlock in Delhi. Basic premises and imperatives and illustrative possibilities of this approach are outlined here:

  • Basic premises
    1. Enforcement of free seats condition of land allotment must further the objectives of the statutory land use provisions for CSS from which it flows
    2. Exclusive dialogue between select schools and some authorities must give way to one involving all CSS parties, especially the aggrieved, viz, communities including, but not limited to, the poor
    3. City-wide / school-centric attempts must give way to area level / community-based ones, for which MPD provides a schema with legal basis for progressive implementation of CSS.
  • Imperatives / boundaries of flexibility
    1. The courts have made it clear that the free seats condition for land allotment cannot be violated. Likewise, land allotment conditions for local enrollment, type of school, etc, cannot be violated.
    2. Land allotment conditions as well as other procedural regimes (eg, essentiality / upgradation permissions, taxation categorization, etc) must also conform to MPD and approved layout plans.
    3. MPD provisions govern land use and are mandatory irrespective of who owns or allots the land and all (including government) schools must conform to MPD standards for school sites.
    4. For the community (including, but not limited to, students and poor) MPD CSS benefits are entitlements, not open to modification or interpretation as favour by schools and/or authorities.
    5. For the community it is irrelevant who is responsible for MPD CSS violations and if individual violations are penalized or condoned, as long as entitlements are restored at community level.
    6. For public confidence in education providers authorities and schools can not be seen as being in any sort of ‘nexus’ about denial of CSS entitlements of the community.
  • Illustrative possibilities3
    1. Legitimate flexibility is possible in matters currently seeing attempts to shirk legal obligations:
      • Instead of trying to simplistically ‘adjust’ the percentage of free seats to 20%, 15%, etc, flexibility could be worked out to ensure overall percentage / equivalent of 25% for the local community, with incentives and penalties for variations in individual cases.
      • Instead of ‘alternatives’ like separate classes for the poor after school hours at the whim of individual schools, options equivalent to 25% free seats could be formalized, especially in partnership with government schools, for progressive implementation of CSS.
      • Instead of fee hikes or government subsidies to ‘finance’ free seats, etc, differential fee for non-local and local enrollment could be considered in pursuit of statutory objectives of local enrollment underlying the CSS concept.
    2. Compliance of orders for free seats can be used to put in place mechanisms required by MPD / recommended by Kothari Commission for progressive implementation of CSS, such as for:
      • Area-based dialogue among all communities, schools and authorities for community-specific plans for compliance apropos free seats as well as for a plan for phased enforcement of CSS
      • Assessment of, besides free seats condition violations, connected MPD CSS violations with a view to rectifying their causes and for clarity in community-specific phased plans for CSS.
      • Partnerships for reducing differences among / ensuring neccessary conditions in all CSS schools and also to explore possibilities for equivalents to 25% free seats in specific contexts.
      • Flexibility (within boundaries of area level MPD CSS imperatives) for protecting individuality of schools, which can also throw up innovations apropos free seats, besides for CSS.
      • Immediate commitments to (a) convergence of all school education interventions in a community in a common CSS plan, (b) time-bound implementation of local enrollment, and (c) starter initiatives for confidence building, eg, summer camps for poor students, etc.

Annexure-1: Excerpts from Kothari Commission Report on school education (1964-66)

10.05. The Creation of the Common School System of Public Education. The main problem before the country is to evolve a common school system of public education which will cover all parts of the country and all stages of school education and strive to provide equality of access to all children. This system will include all schools conducted by government and local authorities and all recognized and aided private schools. It should be maintained at an adequate level of quality and efficiency so that no parent would ordinarily feel any need to send his child to the institutions outside the system, such as independent or unrecognized schools. This is the goal which the country should strive to reach and a number of steps will have to be taken for its early realization.

(1) The first is to ensure that the undesirable discrimination that now exists between teachers working under different managements – government, local authority and private organizations – should be done away with. This has been discussed more fully elsewhere and ……

(2) The ultimate goal should be to provide tuition-free education at the school stage. From this point of view, tuition fees will have to be abolished in a phased programme – fees at the primary stage being abolished at the end of the Fourth Plan and those at the lower secondary stage by the end of the Fifth Plan. This has been discussed more fully elsewhere.

(3) The roles of local bodies and private organizations in school education should be properly integrated with those of the State Governments to ensure that the minimum conditions necessary for the successful working of educational institutions are provided in every institution within the common system of public education, irrespective of its management. For instance, every such institution should be intimately involved with its local community. Each should be regarded as an individuality and given adequate freedom. A continuous attempt should also be made to develop each school to the best extent possible in accordance with a plan to be prepared and implemented jointly by the management, parents, teachers and students, and the Department; and every institution should be assured of adequate financial support to discharge its responsibilities to its student body.

(4) The neighbourhood school plan should be adopted as a step towards eliminating the segregation that now takes place between the schools for the poor and the underprivileged classes and those for the rich and the privileged ones.

…………..

10.19. The Neighbourhood Schools. We drew attention earlier to the social segregation that now takes place in our primary and secondary schools and pointed out that such segregation should be eliminated if education is to be made a powerful instrument of national development in general, and social and national integration in particular. From this point of view we recommend the ultimate adoption of the ‘neighbourhood school concept’ first at the lower primary stage and then at the higher primary. The neighbourhood school should be attended by all children in the neighbourhood irrespective of caste, creed, community, religion, economic condition or social status, so that there would be no segregation in schools. Apart from social and national integration, two other important arguments can be advanced in support of the proposal. In the first place, a neighbourhood school will provide ‘good’ education to children because sharing life with the common people is, in our opinion, an essential ingredient of good education. Secondly, the establishment of such schools will compel the rich, privileged and powerful classes to take an interest in the system of public education and thereby bring about its early improvement.

10.20 We are of the view that the neighbourhood school concept should be adopted as a long term goal, to be reached in a well-planned programme spread over the next 20 years. The strategy for its adoption is as follows:

(1) During the next ten years, two programmes should be pursued side by side. The first is to improve all primary schools to a minimum level prescribed and to raise about ten per cent of them to a higher standard of quality.

(2) Simultaneously the neighbourhood school system should be introduced at the lower primary stage, as a pilot project, in a few areas where public opinion is favourable to the acceptance of the proposal.

Annexure-2: Excerpts from revised MPD-2001 relating to provisions and standards for schools

“Norms have been worked out for the provision of adequate educational facilities at various levels considering the age-group projections and other relevant considerations. In Primary and Secondary schools and colleges, separate norms for reservation of playfield areas in the schools have been given which must be indicated in the detail layout plans. In case of low-income communities, the space for Nursery school shall be utilized for crèche which could be run by public, private or voluntary agencies. Specific areas have been reserved for city level integrated schools to accommodate central schools and public schools. Planning standards for educational facilities are given below:

(a) Pre-primary, Nursery school – 1 for 2500 population

Area per school

0.08 ha

Pre-primary / Nursery school to be located near a park

 
(b) Primary School (Class I to V) – 1 for 5,000 population

Strength of the school

500 students

Area per school

0.4 ha

School building area

0.20 ha

Play field area with a minimum of 18m x 36m …

 
(c) SeniorSecondary School (VI to XII) – 1 for 7500 population

Strength of the school

1000 students

Area per school

1.60 ha

School building area

0.60 ha

Play field area with a minimum of 68m x 126m …

 
(d) Integrated school without hostel facility (Class I to XII) – 1 for 90,000 to 1,00,000 population

Strength of the school

1500 students

Area per school

3.50 ha

School building area

0.70 ha

Play field area

2.50 ha

Parking area

0.30 ha

(e) Integrated school with hostel facility – 1 for 90,000 to 1,00,000 population

Strength of the school

1000 students

Area per school

3.90 ha

School building area

0.70 ha

Play field area

2.50 ha

Parking area

0.30 ha

Residential, hostel area

0.40 ha

(f) School for handicapped – 1 for 45,000 population

Strength of the school

400 students

Area per school

0.50 ha

School building area

0.20 ha

Play field area

0.30 ha

WP 8954 OF 2003 by MPISG through its Planner, adopted by Rangpuri Pahari Vidyarthi Abhibhavak Manch (8955) & Ors

Developments in a clutch of PIL seeking enforcement of DMP CSS, filed in Delhi High Court in December 2003 on basis of engagements since 2000 in view of discussions on the education Bill and imminent orders in related matters

WP 8954/2003 (without annexures) by MPISG through its Planner, adopted by Rangpuri Pahari Vidyarthi Abhibhavak Manch (8955), Rajinder Singh r/o Rangpuri Pahari Malakpur Kohi (8956), Shiv Narayan r/o village Mahipalpur (8957), Prabha Chand r/o Vasant Kunj (8958) and Badri Prasad r/o Masudpur Dairy (8959), in which notice was issued on 17.12.03

IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI
(EXTRA-ORDINARY CIVIL WRIT JURISDICTION)
CIVIL WRIT PETITION NO. 8954 OF 2003

IN THE MATTER OF:

 

Master Plan Implementation support Group,
Through its Planner, Gita Dewan Verma,
1356 D-I Vasant Kunj, New Delhi - 110070

…PETITIONER
 

VERSUS

 
1.

Delhi Development Authority,
Through its Vice Chairman,
Vikas Sadan, INA New Delhi – 110023

 
2.

Union of India,
Through the Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development,
Nirman Bhawan, New Delhi – 110011

 
3.

Government of NCT of Delhi,
Through its Chief Secretary,
Secretariat, IP Estate, New Delhi – 110002

 
4.

Municipal Corporation of Delhi,
Through its Commissioner,
Town Hall, Chandni Chowk, Delhi

 
5.

Delhi Police,
Through its Joint Commissioner (Traffic),
Police Headquarters, IP Estate, 
New Delhi – 110002

…RESPONDENTS

AND IN THE MATTER OF

WRIT PETITION UNDER ARTICLE 226 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA FOR ISSUANCE OF WRIT(S), ORDER(S) AND/OR DIRECTION(S) FOR TIME-BOUND ACTION AGAINST MASTER PLAN VIOLATIONS ON SCHOOL SITES IN VASANT KUNJ SCHEME AND ENFORCING ON THEM MASTER PLAN PROVISIONS FOR NEIGHBOURHOOD SCHOOLS FOR BENEFIT OF ALL LOCAL STUDENTS AND RESIDENTS AND ANY OTHER WRIT(S), ORDER(S) OR DIRECTION(S) AS THIS HON’BLE COURT MAY DEEM APPROPRIATE IN THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES OF THIS CASE.

To

The Hon’ble Chief Justice and His Lordship’s Companion Judges of the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi at New Delhi

The petition of the Petitioners above named:

MOST RESPECTFULLY SHOWETH:

1. That this writ petition is being filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India as Public Interest Litigation and is directed against allotment and use of school sites spread over 40.25 hectares in ‘Vasant Kunj Scheme’ in contravention of the provisions of the ’Master Plan’ and, hence, of Delhi Development Act, 1957 (‘Act’) instead of for enforcing ‘Master Plan’ provisions for Common School system / Neighbourhood Schools providing equal access to all local students and amenity to all local residents.

2. That the Petitioner is filing this writ petition in bonafide public interest to enforce the fundamental rights recognised in ‘Master Plan’ provisions for equal access neighbourhood schools. The Petitioner is a platform of citizens’ groups from all sections of society engaging since 2000, with technical support from qualified Planner, on ‘Master Plan’ implementation issues and has brought and supported others in bringing to the attention of this Hon’ble Court cases of ‘Master Plan’ violations, such as in W.P.4978/2002, W.P.5007&5009/2002 and W.P.6980/2002.

FACTS OF THE CASE:

3. That the Respondent No.1 (‘DDA’) has was constituted under the ‘Act’ in 1957. Respondent No.2 (‘MoUD’) is nodal ministry of Respondent No.1. Respondent No.3 (‘GoNCTD’) and Respondent No.4 (‘MCD’) have responsibilities for implementation of the ‘Master Plan’ by virtue of their representation on the Authority of ‘DDA’ under the provisions of the ‘Act’ and, under Clause-3 of Development Code of the ‘Master Plan’, on special high-level policy committee for guidelines for sanctioning of detailed schemes, etc. Respondent No.5 (Delhi Traffic Police) is on Technical Committee to assist said high-level policy committee and concerned with the matter due to parking congestion consequent to Master Plan violations on school sites.

4. That DDA was created for sole purpose of development according to ‘Master Plan’. Under s.6 of the ‘Act’ it is empowered to “acquire, hold, manage and dispose off land” only for this purpose, for which a policy of large-scale compulsory acquisition was adopted. MPD-1962 clearly said, “All this land will remain under public ownership and developed plots or undeveloped land will be leased out …on an equitable basis, so that the benefit of planned growth accrues to the common man”. Thus leasehold tenure is an instrument not only of land disposal / transaction but also for equitable planned development. It is submitted that violations of land allotment conditions, central to this writ petition, need to be viewed in the context of this purpose of compulsory land acquisition and leasehold disposal of public land.

5. That the ‘Master Plan’ contemplates schools as neighbourhood facilities, in line with its principle of hierarchy of city structure, for which MPD-1962 says, “The housing cluster is built around the nursery school and the tot lot. The primary school, the high school, the Community centre and the District centre are the order of the functional tiers around which the community structure is built up”. Advantages of hierarchy are spelled out in MPD-1962 Work Studies in terms of obviating transportation need and restricting traffic. MPD-2001 defines ‘housing cluster’ as 2500 population, ‘neighbourhood’ as 15,000, ‘community’ as 100,000, etc, and envisages nursery, primary and secondary schools within, respectively, 5, 10 and 20-minute walking distance. MPD-2001 hierarchy-related standards (1 nursery school for housing cluster, 1 primary school for neighborhood, etc) are based on the Neighbourhood School concept, operationalized through lease conditions requiring schools to not refuse admission to local students. Excerpts from the ‘Master Plan’ (MPD-2001) relating to provisions and standards for schools are annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXURE-P/1.

6. That the ‘Master Plan’ contemplates on planned schools sites equitable access for all classes, as per overall aim of planned development set out in MPD-1962 as ‘balanced and integrated development to take care of present and future growth’. In pursuit of this aim, MPD-2001 requires 25% low-income housing provision in each residential area of 1 lakh population, making urban villages integral part of new schemes, etc. Within such integrated development, equal access to schools is operationalized through lease conditions requiring schools to provide free education to poor students of the locality. The 25% figure for this is consistent with the provision for 25% EWS housing in a community.

7. That since allotment conditions flow from the ‘Act’, their violations must be assessed in terms of purpose of their source, that is, in terms of ‘Master Plan’ objectives and entitlements. It is from this perspective that ground realities of schools in Vasant Kunj are outlined next and set out in detail in the report that was sent in June 2001 to Respondents No.1, 3 and 4 and in summary to Respondent No.2. It is pertinent to mention that this report was commissioned to the Petitioner’s Planner by the registered association of Rangpuri Pahari on behalf of its forum of students and parents, Rangpuri Pahari Vidyarthi Evam Abhibhavak Manch (hereinafter ‘RPVEAM’), and is the basis of subsequent representations, etc, in the instant matter by ‘RPVEAM’ as well as other citizens’ groups in the area, including from villages, flats and service providers’ settlements. A true copy of the report of June 2001 on ‘Vasant Kunj’s Schools: Master Plan Provisions and Ground Realities’ is annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXURE-P/2.

8. That in 1980s DDA developed ‘Vasant Kunj Scheme’ for flats for 1 lakh population (called ‘community’ in the ‘Master Plan’). As per the approved layout plan, sites have been provided in it as per MPD-2001 standards for 40 Nursery, 20 Primary, 13 Secondary and 2 city-level Integrated schools and 2 schools for the handicapped – spread over 40.25 hectares out of total residential area of 271.5 hectares. As illustrated in the report at ANNEXURE-P/2, use of nearly all these sites is in gross violation of the ‘Master Plan’. No primary school and only one secondary school functions on a planned site and instead of just 2 there are a dozen city-level schools, obviously on sites meant for other local schools. In reply to a letter listing out approved layout plan violations on school sites, ‘DDA’ replied to say the same had been forwarded for ‘necessary action’. Typed copies of letter of 04.08.2001 from the Petitioner’s Planner and reply of 26.09.2001 from ‘DDA’ thereto are annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXURE-P/3 (COLLY).

9. That layout plan violations in terms of sites earmarked for one type of school being used for another (bigger) type have snowballed into a series of consequent ‘Master Plan’ violations as follows:

(a) Layout plan violations have led to violations of Plan standards for space for buildings, playgrounds and parking. Nearly all up-market schools in Vasant Kunj, on sites meant for smaller schools, are sub-standard in terms of these. An obvious problem, illustrated in section-2.1.1 of ANNEXURE-P/2, is that, since schools have not made adequate parking provision within their premises, roads outside are clogged with vehicles, making for traffic problems that Respondent No.5 has not sought to solve as land use issue despite its 'Master Plan responsibilities.

(b) These violations, in turn, have led to up-market schools in excess of what local demand can sustain and schools tap citywide market, as illustrated in section-2.1.4 of ANNEXURE-P/2. Since schools with ‘city level’ enrolment can charge ‘city level’ fee, commercialization is inevitable. In a vicious cycle, high fees are justified with facilities, even luxuries, illustrated in section-2.2.1 of ANNEXURE-P/2, not matching local demand.

(c) Violation of lease conditions for local enrolment results from the above, impairing balanced development by stressing area infrastructure and city traffic (with up-market schools bringing traffic into the area and also forcing local students to commute elsewhere), with consequent energy / environmental costs.

(d) Violation of lease condition for free seats is the tail end of the foregoing violations, as the poor among local students are worst affected by exclusion due to commercialization. None of the schools in Vasant Kunj provide 25% frees seats. Nor did they respond to requests for use of space after school hours or for summer school (which children ran in the basti), as described in Preface and section-3.2.2 of ANNEXURE-P/2.

(e) Exclusion of the poor by commercialization on planned school sites makes for consequent ‘Master Plan’ violations in MCD schools. The three old MCD primary schools in the area have enrolment in excess of MPD-2001 standard of 500 students and space short of standards. In 2001 the school in Rangpuri Pahari, for example, had built area of 300 square metres (a sixth of MPD-2001 standard) on site of about 0.20 Ha (half of the standard). It is respectfully submitted that enrolment in excess and space short of standards, and resultant environment (illustrated in sections 2.2.3 and 3.1.2 of ANNEXURE-P/2), hardly conducive to quality learning or teaching, is the root cause of most problems in MCD schools.

10. That Respondents have not acted against misuse of land meant for equitable education, despite representations since 2001:

(a) ‘DDA’ has not taken ‘necessary action’ as per its letter of 26.09.2001 (in ANNEXURE-P/3), though it reportedly told this Hon’ble Court in 2002 that it acts against violations brought to its notice although monitoring is responsibility of ‘GoNCTD’. Subsequent to CBI expose of ‘DDA scam’, including in a case of violations by a school, the Petitioner’s Planner wrote to ‘DDA’, with copy to CBI, to point out inconsistency between its claim in court and the school scam and reiterate that monitoring is its responsibility till specifically delegated to ‘GoNCTD’. Subsequently ‘DDA’ reportedly wrote to ‘GoNCTD’ about violations and also brought out on 12.08.2003 a notice asking schools to submit affidavits about compliance with allotment conditions within a month. It has not replied to letter of 15.09.2003 asking about affidavits received from schools in Vasant Kunj. DDA’s press notice of 12.08.2003 is annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXURE-P/4.

(b) ‘MoUD’ did not respond to representations in 2001. Vide notice of 22.06.03 Parliamentary Standing Committee on Urban and Rural Development invited views on functioning of DDA and ‘RPVEAM’ made a representation. With the Committee yet to hold hearings, MoUD has announced Master Plan ‘Guidelines’ that bear no relation to s.41 of the Act or due process of Plan revision and do not even mention school education or implementation failure on Plan provisions for it. Typed copy of Standing Parliamentary Committee announcement published in Hindustan Times dated 22.06.2003 and translated copy of representation of ‘RPVEAM’ in response thereto are annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXURE-P/5(COLLY).

(c) In 2001 ‘GoNCTD’ did not respond to the report sent to Education Director, though CMO called to say CM appreciated the summary, whereupon a request for discussion was made that CMO forwarded to office of Education Minister, which did not respond. In May 2002 CM spoke of discussions with private schools. On 09.05.2002 ‘RPVEAM’ wrote to request care to ensure entitlements are not downsized. In November ‘GoNCTD’ and private schools agreed on 5% free seats. ‘RPVEAM’ and the Petitioner’s Planner wrote for priority to suggestions of the aggrieved over those of the accused. On 19.06.2003 ‘GoNCTD’ plans to pay Delhi Public School (DPS) to run free schools and on 09.08.2003 DPS plans to start 100 such schools were reported. Meanwhile, ‘DDA’ had written to ‘GoNCTD’ about violations. A report of 09.09.2003 said ‘GoNCTD’ planned action in just 7 cases. Typed copies of said news reports of 19.06.2003 published in Asian Age, 09.08.2003 published in Hindustan Times and 09.09.2003 published in Asian Age are annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXURE-P/6 (COLLY).

(d) ‘MCD’ did not respond in 2001 to the report containing suggestions for alternatives to 25% free seats to secure access to quality infrastructure in private schools for children in MCD schools. At a seminar on 25.07.03 by ‘MCD’ and an NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation), plans were announced for ‘MCD’ collaborations with private schools, including those in Vasant Kunj, for NGO-run night shelters.

11. That Respondents have failed to ensure equitable benefit for local students, especially in villages and among the poor, on planned school sites or by upgrading / integrating old schools:

(a) ‘DDA’ did not respond to requests for expanding MCD school site to Master Plan standards and for reserving remaining school / facility sites near old settlements for them.

(b) While ‘GoNCTD’ ‘bhagidari’ with private schools is seeking to relax free seats’ conditions for their benefit, for benefit of out-of-school children CM (‘bhagidari’ chairperson) spoke of “association with MCD” in a news report of 09.09.2003 published in Asian Age, typed copy of which is annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXURE-P/7.

(c) ‘MCD’ is reportedly increasing association with NGOs, with plans for handing over MCD schools to NGOs for care as well as for NGO-run night shelters. Typed copies of news reports of 17.07.2003 published in Asian Age and 09.10.2003 published in Express Newsline are annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXURE-P/8 (COLLY).

(d) All are also unmindful of implications for Rangpuri Pahari MCD school of DDA’s illegal mega-housing scheme started next to it in 2002 and was stopped by this Hon’ble Court on 16.09.2002 in WP 4978/2002. While residents were making efforts in 2000-2002 to stop the scheme from starting, ‘MCD’ was adding rooms on its sub-standard site and National Institute of Urban Affairs (an agency of ‘MoUD’) was doing a project (with NGOs) to ‘empower’ the community – that commissioned the report at ANNEXURE-P/2 – for greater enrollment in the overcrowded school. Later, ‘GoNCTD’, ‘MCD’ and ‘MoUD’ did not respond to requests for support on objections to the scheme filed by over 1700 families, including on grounds of infringement of Master Plan entitlements for school education, in response to Public Notice under s.11A of the ‘Act’, precipitated by this Hon’ble court’s intervention. Issues raised in these objections remain unanswered even after Hearing on 27.01.2003, as do questions about eagerness to re-start the illegal scheme. Typed copy of news report about Rangpuri Pahari school published in Express Newsline on 02.07.2001 and translated copy of objection filed by ‘RPVEAM’ in response to Public Notice of 15.09.2002 are annexed herewith and marked as ANNEXURE-P/9 (COLLY).

12. That a few schools in Vasant Kunj offer facilities for poor students, but only to extent and in manner they choose, as outlined in section-2.2.2 and described for one experience in section-3.2.1 of ANNEXURE-P/2. Currently DPS runs an afternoon pre-school – only for girls. It is submitted that such activity to earn goodwill through charity short of legal obligations also amounts, like other non-permissible profitable uses, to misuse of school sites.

13. That ‘helping the poor’ in ways short of their entitlements jeopardizes the entitlements themselves when violaters are involved in policy-making, as in case of ‘GoNCTD’ negotiating the law with violater schools. Through such processes citizens’ entitlements ‘slip’ from public discourse, as seen in ‘MoUD’ Master Plan guidelines’ silence on the robust provisions of the ‘Master Plan’ for equal access Neighbourhood schools – at a time when draft Education Bill is being criticized by civil society precisely on grounds of it not being based on Common School system. It is most respectfully submitted that enforcement of ‘Master Plan’ provisions for school education is relevant also from perspective of the current policy discourse on education.

14. That the above illegalities and failures have been brought to the attention of authorities through numerous representations as well as through a detailed illustrated report (2001), response to Public Notice under s.11A of the ‘Act’ (2002) and representation before Standing Parliamentary Committee (2003) – all to no avail. The Petitioner is now approaching this Hon’ble Court in the interest of justice for all local students and residents entitled under the ‘Act’ to benefits of equal access Neighbourhood schools and aggrieved by misuse of planned school sites in violation of the ‘Master Plan’.

15. GROUNDS

A. Because the ‘Master Plan’ is a statutory document drawn up in accordance with s.7 of the ‘Act’ and s.14 of the ‘Act’ clearly stipulates that provisions of the ‘Master Plan’ are mandatory and use of land and buildings in contravention thereof is prohibited. This legal position has been reiterated by the Hon’ble Supreme Court as well as this Hon’ble Court in a number of decisions.

B. Because the ‘Master Plan’ sets out the overall aim of planned development, which is the purpose of the ‘Act’, as ‘balanced and integrated development’ and for land compulsorily acquired for this under s.15 of the ‘Act’ it says it is to be leased out “on an equitable basis, so that the benefit of planned growth accrues to the common man” and, therefore, quite irrespective of allotment rate, allotment conditions guaranteeing equitable access and benefit to the common man cannot be compromised since they are central to planned development.

C. Because allowing misuse to come about and continue represents on the part of all authorities having responsibilities under the ‘Act’ or ‘Master Plan’ not only gross failure in terms of penal clauses contained in s.29 and s.30 of the ‘Act’ and the Plan implementation framework set out in Monitoring and review provisions of the ‘Master Plan’, but also abuse of powers of compulsory land acquisition u/s.15 and disposal of public land u/s.21(1) of the ‘Act’, powers that are contemplated only for planned development u/s s.6 of the ‘Act’.

D. Because land allotment conditions for schools operationalize ‘Master Plan’ provisions for Common School system / Neighborhood schools for equal access to all local students from all sections and residential amenity free of extraneous traffic, parking congestion, etc, and provisions of the ‘Act’ and the ‘Master Plan’ from which these conditions flow translate the recognition of the fundamental right to a planned and healthy environment for all and, therefore, their violations must be viewed in terms not of just allotment violations but violation of the fundamental right guaranteed by a collective reading of Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India.

E. Because Master Plan standards provide for school sites for all – and only – local students in a residential area, enforcement of allotment conditions would preclude commercialization, as schools would not be able to tap citywide ‘market’, commercialization of education, while it might only be value-failure under education law, is gross illegality under the ‘Act’, involving a series of Master Plan violations which are not condonable under the land policy by which land was compulsorily acquired with a view to securing benefit of planned development for the common man.

F. Because misuse of school sites makes equal access to education impossible by hogging land resources needed for investments in education to be able to progress beyond increasing enrolment and retention to create quality learning environment and as long as planned school sites meant for creating quality learning environment for all children continue to, instead, be misused for commercialization of education duality in place of equity in school education will remain inevitable.

G. Because ‘helping the poor’ in ways short of their entitlements is unacceptable and that, after unconsidered allotments, rampant violations and abject monitoring failures, government should feel free to not feel obliged to take action against violating schools and that violating schools should feel free to lobby to negotiate their legal obligations towards the poor and others and, instead, offer to ‘help’ the poor to extent and in manner they chose, etc, is unacceptable in law and violation of Article 14 of the Constitution.

PRAYER

It is therefore most respectfully prayed that this Hon’ble Court may graciously be pleased to:

a. issue a Writ, Order or Direction in the nature of Mandamus to Respondents to furnish details of action taken / proposed (along with time-schedule) for implementation of Master Plan provisions for Neighbourhood / Common School system in the area; and

b. issue a Writ, Order or Direction in the nature of Mandamus to the Respondents to furnish details of action taken / proposed (along with time-schedule) against Master Plan violations on school sites in Vasant Kunj; and

c. issue appropriate Writ, Order or Direction against allotment of / development on still available sites in layout plan for schools / other community facilites, pending prayers (a) and (b); and

d. pass such other order(s) as deemed fit by this Hon’ble Court in the facts and circumstances of the case.

AND FOR THIS ACT OF KINDNESS, THE PETITIONER SHALL, AS IN DUTY BOUND, EVER PRAY.

PETITIONERS

Through

(RAVI SHANKAR KUMAR)

Advocate

B6/63, SafdarJung Enclave,

New Delhi – 110029

NEW DELHI

DATED: .12.2003

Letter of 17 Feb 2004
Sub: WP 8954 to 8959 / 2003 (against allotment and use of school sites in violation of Delhi Master Plan...

About news report on a scheme for 15% freeships, etc, to be placed before the Court for approval, misuse charge policy and court orders about education rights and demolitions.

17.02.2004

Chief Secretary, GoNCTD
Delhi Government Secretariat,
IP Estate, New Delhi – 110002 

Sub:     WP 8954 to 8959 / 2003 (against allotment and use of school sites in violation of Delhi Master Plan and for enforcing Master Plan provisions for common school system)

Ref:     News item ‘Schools must teach poor children free’, Hindustan Times, 17.02.2004, p.1

Dear Madam,

The news item under reference suggests ongoing discussions about Hon’ble High Court’s order of 20.01.04 in WP 3156/2002 and a scheme for 15% freeships, etc, to be placed before the Hon’ble Court for its approval. Please permit me to point out that:

(a)   The Hon’ble Court, while disposing off WP 3156/2002, has not sought a ‘scheme’, only a compliance report. Its order requires DoE, GoNCTD ‘to point out to DDA wherever a breach is committed’ and ‘If there are no rules for admission framed …to see that the rules are framed’.

(b)   The freeships condition flows from Delhi Master Plan in the context of its schema for common school system and authorities are duty-bound under Delhi Development Act to devise schemes and rules, including for compliance, within this context (which does allows scope for flexibility).

(c)   In WP 8954/2003, content of which has direct bearing on efforts for compliance in WP 3156/2002, Hon’ble Court passed orders on 17.12.2003 and on 04.02.2004 (directing reply / personal appearance of officers). The matter is listed on 25.02.2004 and no reply has been filed.

The news report under reference conveys the impression that the Hon’ble Court has left scope for government and schools to negotiate the law without regard to its purpose and spirit. This is entirely without basis and you are requested to ensure that such reports at least do not have official quotes. 

Please also permit me to raise two related questions:

(1)   As per news reports a policy has been jointly made by all tiers of government to allow misuse of private farmhouses against payment of a fee much higher than the penalty set out in law. Would this not require a similar, if not stricter, policy for misuse of public land sites, such as schools?

(2)   One of the schools mentioned in WP 8954/2003 had moved court against a notice against misuse in 2003. The Hon’ble Court, upholding the notice, granted the school’s prayer for time till end of academic year. In case of resettlement in WP 1362/2004 Hon’ble Court did not grant the same to residents in view of certain assurances by the authorities. What action has been taken on these assurances and which schools will be providing freeships to children in resettlement areas?

Lastly, it is requested that reply in WP 8954/2003 be expedited for timely clarification of common school system perspective of Delhi Master Plan so that opportunity arising from the Hon’ble Court’s order in WP 3156/2002 to take a huge step towards universalisation of education is not missed.

 Yours sincerely

Gita Dewan Verma / Planner

cc:       For information, and with request to expedite reply in WP 8954/2003

  1. Vice Chairman, Delhi Development Authority
  2. Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development
  3. Commissioner, MCD
  4. Joint commissioner (Traffic), Delhi Police

Letter of 03 Mar 2004
Sub: Media reports about property tax regime for schools


03.03.2004

Mr Rakesh Mehta,
Commissioner, MCD

Sub:     Media reports about property tax regime for schools

Ref:      WP 8954/2003

Sir,

On television yesterday you explained the proposed property tax regime that divides schools into categories labeled ‘public purpose’ (tuition fee less than Rs.50 pm), ‘utility’ (fee between Rs.50 and Rs.600 pm) and ‘commercial’ (fee over Rs.600 pm).

The category labels appear to me arbitrary and are certainly inconsistent with Master Plan land use categories. Under Delhi Development Act and its land policy all sites in Delhi, were acquired and are usable only for ‘public purpose’ of development according to Delhi Master Plan. Under the binding provisions of the Plan all school sites are usable only within the ambit of its schema that, in effect, operationalises the concept of Common School System set out in the Kothari Commission Report.

The proposed tax regime, which effectively legitimizes duality in school education, is in conflict with Delhi Master Plan, which seeks to progressively universalise school education in pursuit of a Constitutional commitment. And insofar as ‘commercial’ use of school sites is not permissible, the proposed tax regime is in conflict with provisions of DD Act for misuse and seems to me quite akin to the policy being pursued for permitting commercial misuse of farmhouses against a fee.

I am afraid I see no rationale in such pay-and-misuse approaches since revenues generated through them are incapable of compensating those aggrieved. For instance, a higher tax from ‘commercial’ schools is incapable of contributing towards securing common school entitlements of children in grossly inadequate ‘public purpose’ tented schools in, say, Holambi Kalan. And failure to implement there even assurances given in Courts about school children dislocated days before examinations demonstrates rather too clearly the hollowness of the cross-subsidy illusions being contrived. 

Perhaps your property tax regime for school sites is driven by some rationale more significant than the education / land use rationale that it defies. And perhaps you would like to clarify the same.

Thanking you,

Yours sincerely

Gita Dewan Verma / Planner

cc: (for information w.r.t WP 8954/2003 and also farmhouse party policy)

  • Vice Chairman, DDA
  • Secretary, MoUD
  • Chief Secretary, GNCTD
  • Joint Commissioner (Traffic), Delhi Police

MPISG REJOINDER

To replies filed around 25.02.04 (not answering the petitions and not supplemented till inspection on 22.04.04), on served on respondents before hearing of 05.05.04

IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI

(EXTRAORDINARY CIVIL WRIT JURISDICTION)

CIVIL WRIT PETITIONS NO. 8954 TO 8959 OF 2003

IN THE MATTER OF

Master Plan Implementation Support Group & Ors …Petitioners

versus

Delhi Development Authority & Ors …Respondents

COMMON REJOINDER AFFIDAVIT ON BEHALF OF PETITIONERS

I, Gita Dewan Verma d/o Shri Sudarshan Dewan, do hereby solemnly affirm and state that I am Planner to Master Plan Implementation Support Group, Petitioner in WP 8954/2003 and am well acquainted with the facts and circumstances of these writ petitions. Rejoinder therein is as follows.

1. That the Hon’ble Court was pleased to issue Notice on 17.12.2003 and direct Respondents to file counter-affidavits by next hearing on 04.02.2004 and to order on 04.02.2004 as follows:

“It is matter of great surprise that despite process being served, neither the reply is filed nor the counsel for anyone has chosen to remain present. Hence we direct Vice Chairman DDA, Secretary MoUD, Chief Secretary GNCT Delhi, Commissioner MCD and Joint Commissioner (Traffic) shall personally remain present if the reply is not filed on the next date, i.e., 25.02.04”.

2. That by 25.02.04 copies of following replies had been served:

(a) On 19.02.2004 Counter-affidavit on behalf of DDA, stating that it “shall separately file affidavit relating to allotments”.

(b) On 19.02.2004 Affidavit on behalf of MCD claiming “very limited role” and seeking liberty to file “additional affidavit as and when required and/or called upon by the Hon’ble Court”

(c) On 24.02.2004 “short affidavit” of MoUD with request for liberty to file “para-wise detailed affidavit at a later stage”

(d) On 24.02.2004 Short affidavit on behalf of Delhi Police.

3. That copy of reply of Respondent No.3 (GoNCTD) was served after 25.02.2004 -- when matter could not be taken up for paucity of time and was listed for 05.05.2004 by Court Master -- and, with replies of Respondents No.2 (MoUD) and No.4 (MCD) as well as additional affidavit referred to in reply of No.1 (DDA), was not on record when inspection was made two months later on 22.04.2004.

4. That the Petitioners crave leave to file common Rejoinder and submit at the outset that the Respondents’ replies do not answer their Petitions at all, statements made in them are not correct and/or relevant and are hereby denied. The petitioners reserve the right to file para-wise Rejoinder after Respondents have filed reply to the petitions as directed by this Hon’ble Court.

5. That reply of Respondent No.1 (DDA) does not answer the issues of rampant MPD violations (para-9 of the Petition) and of its own failure to act as per its mandate, despite representations, against them (para-10(a), 11(a), 11(d), etc) -- not even to extent of placing before the Hon’ble Court responses of schools in Vasant Kunj to its own Press Notice of 12.08.2003 at ANNEXURE-P/4 -- and:

(a) is deposed by a Senior Architect, ie, an officer in Planning department, even as letter of 26.09.2001 at ANNEXURE-P/3 (COLLY)(ii) from this Department stated that necessary action had to be taken by Lands Department and even as Press Notice of 12.08.2003 at ANNEXURE-P/4 was issued under signature of Vice Chairman.

(b) from Para-3 onward merely re-states facts about the Act, MPD and layout plan of Vasant Kunj (with unmarked print of same at Annexure) and school sites therein (for some reason omitting integrated schools and schools for the handicapped) – all of which are not in dispute.

(c) by way of reply to the Petition, apart from opining that the Petitioners have no locus standii, etc, has only promise, added by hand in para-3, of another affidavit, yet to be filed.

6. That reply of Respondent No.2 (MoUD), like that of Respondent No.1, mostly restates facts about the Act, Plan, layout plan, etc, that are not in dispute and, in Para-8, states, purportedly on basis of “report received from DDA”, some figures for school sites allotted in Vasant Kunj -- 9 middle and 8 senior secondary schools (including 3 GoNCTD schools), 2 schools for handicapped, 1 Japanese Embassy school, 1 integrated school and 1 Kendriya Vidhyalaya – without either naming these schools or indicating them on a plan, which makes these figures impossible to compare with details set out in the Petition and, therefore, irrelevant to it.

7. That reply of Respondent No.3 (GoNCTD) skirts the issue of misuse of school sites, failing to clarify even action taken on letter of 2003 in this regard from DDA to it (referred in ANNEXURE-P/6 (COLLY) (iii)), etc, and what the reply does set out suggests:

(a) GNCTD is not monitoring use of school sites – as evident from the list on pages-8-9 of “some” rather than all cases of sponsored land allotment and from figures, on page-10, of 2 government and 13 unaided schools in Vasant Kunj, which are at variance from figures mentioned in MoUD’s reply (22 schools, including 3 GoNCTD schools)

(b) GNCTD is abetting MPD violations by using for recognition / upgradation permission ‘land requirement norms’, set out in its para-6, short of statutory MPD standards -- 1000 sqm, ie, 0.1 Ha for middle school (short even of 0.4 Ha for primary school under MPD) and 8000 sqm, ie, 0.8 Ha for secondary / senior secondary school (against 1.6 Ha for secondary (VI-XII) and 3.5 Ha for integrated (I–XII) school under MPD)

(c) GNCTD is distributing Essentiality Certificates on basis of vague criteria for ‘essentiality’ (spelled out in its para-3 and on page-9) rather than explicit statutory MPD standards for different types of schools, etc.

(d) GNCTD is following procedures for sponsorship by Land Allotment Committee, set out on its page-5 onwards, that seem wholly discretionary and unrelated to MPD provisions.

8. That reply also skirts completely the denial of MPD entitlements of local, especially poor, students, and the Respondent’s failure (set out briefly in para-10(a) and at some length in representation at ANNEXURE-P/5 (COLLY)(ii)) to respond to representations in this regard while negotiating with erring schools, and the Petitioners’ crave leave to bring to the attention of this Hon’ble Court that instead of taking action against schools for misuse of sites and lapse on local enrollment conditions, GNCTD continued to negotiate to their advantage even on conditions for free seats, and that a letter dated 17.02.2004 from planner to Petitioner in WP 8954/2003 to object to news reports suggesting this Hon’ble Court had left scope for government to negotiate the law with schools was merely forwarded as Public Grievance to OSD to Minister and thence to Director Education, with copy dated 01.04.2004. Typed true copies of letter of 17.02.2004, news report in Hindustan Times of same date and letter of 01.04.2002 received are annexed herewith as ANNEXURE-P/14 (COLLY) for ready reference.

9. That reply of Respondent No.4 (MCD) has simply claimed that it has limited / no role to play in the writ petition without bothering to answer issues raised about MPD violations -- even in its own schools – although s.34-A of the Act, which makes offences u/s.29(1), i.e., development in contravention of the Master Plan (including at instance of Government departments) cognizable, vests responsibilities for action against such offences in MCD -- although MCD is otherwise seeking greater role in MPD under the 74th Constitutional Amendment, and although it has subsequently mooted a proposal to, in effect, take action apropos ‘commercial’ schools -- albeit not to stop misuse but to allow it at a ‘price’ in form of higher property tax. True typed copies of news report about the last and letter of 03.03.2004 from Planner to Petitioner in WP 8954/2003, to which no reply has been received, are annexed herewith as ANNEXURE-P/15 (COLLY) for ready reference.

10. That the reply of Respondent No.5 (Delhi Police (Traffic)) states, in its para-8, that its role under MPD Technical Committee is “to suggest ways for ensuring smooth flow of traffic” and notes, in its para-5, that the Petitioners have stated that failure of schools to make adequate parking provision within their premises has made for traffic problems, but without countering this allegation with any evidence of mandatory parking space within school premises or clarifying how “ways for ensuring smooth flow of traffic” are possible without mandatory off-road parking provision, in its para-9 it “reaffirms its commitment to ensure smooth and congestion free traffic flow” -- on basis of what can only be called bland denials, unsubstantiated assurances and admittances of public expense to facilitate continuation of violations, viz:

(a) in para-7 it states that “at present no traffic problem is existing due to schools in the area” and that “no complaint in this regard has been received during the year 2004”, even as latter alone is insufficient basis to infer the former, belied by ground realities, such as illustrated in photographs in the report at ANNEXURE-P/2.

(b) in para-7 it claims “traffic police is deployed at strategic points”, “traffic patrolling is carried out for discouraging improper parking”, obstructively parked vehicles are “towed away and prosecuted” and “spot prosecution, pasting of obstructive parking notice etc are carried out” – all without any statistics to prove adequacy of these measures.

(c) Not mentioned, apropos measures mentioned in para-7 as well as apropos “constant liasoning with the school authorities [to] brief & sensitize the security personnel as well as transport incharge of schools on regular interval basis” mentioned in para-6, is how much public expense is incurred on measures to make up for failure of schools to provide mandatory parking within their premises and how this expense is justifiable.

11. That the Petitioners respectfully submit that these replies, that seem to have been filed only to spare officers embarrassment of personal appearance pursuant to the Hon’ble Court’s order of 04.02.2004, smack of utter indifference on the part of the Respondents towards the constitutional commitment to equal education for all children as well as towards illegalities in pursuit of profit at cost of citizens entitlements, and the contents of the Petitions, not answered in these replies, are reiterated.

12. That the statements made in the above Rejoinder affidavit are true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief and the accompanying Annexures are true copies of their respective originals.

DEPONENT

New Delhi, dated: __.05.2004

Letter of 17 May 2004
Sub: WP 8954 to 8959 / 2003 (for enforcing Delhi Master Plan provisions for equal access neighbourhood schools under Delhi Development Act

To request that fact of MPISG petitions being heard by the court be placed before the bench hearing a matter with overlapping issues in which Public Notice was issued

17.05.2004

Chief Secretary, GoNCTD
Delhi Government Secretariat,
IP Estate, New Delhi – 110002

Sub:     WP 8954 to 8959 / 2003 (for enforcing Delhi Master Plan provisions for equal access neighbourhood schools under Delhi Development Act, 1957)

Ref:     Public Notice issued by Dte.of Education, published in Hindustan Times dated 13.05.2004, p.16, and (copy of) my letter of 04.05.2004

Dear Madam,

The Public Notice under reference says “the Division Bench of High Court comprising Hon’ble Mr Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Hon’ble Mr Justice R.C.Jain on 6.5.2004 in Writ (Appeal) No. 196/2004 … has issued directions to the Directorate of Education, Govt. of NCT of Delhi at the recognized Unaided schools who are willing to assist the Court, may remain present on 21st May, 2004”. The points for the determination enumerated – justifiability of holding tests and interviews for admissions, fixing criteria for admission to ensure admission to ‘Neighbourhood School’” and rights of children of poor and uneducated parents – are also covered by the equal access neighbourhood schools’ provisions of Delhi Master Plan. You are requested to ensure that these statutory provisions -- binding under Delhi Development Act, 1957, and modifiable only by due process of its s.11A -- are brought to the attention of the Hon’ble Court, along with the fact of their enforcement being subject of the above-mentioned petitions (in which GNCTD is respondent no.3) being heard by the Division Bench comprising Hon’ble Chief Justice and Hon’ble Justice Ahmed.

Thanking you and also looking forward to response to the letter under reference,

Yours sincerely

Gita Dewan Verma (Planner to Petitioner in WP 8954/2003)

cc:       For information and with request as above:

  • Vice Chairman, Delhi Development Authority (Respondent No.1 in WP 8954 – 8959 / 2003)
  • Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development (Respondent No.2 in WP 8954 – 8959 / 2003)
  • Commissioner, MCD (Respondent No.4 in WP 8954 – 8959 / 2003)
  • Joint Commissioner (Traffic), Delhi Police (Respondent No.5 in WP 8954 – 8959 / 2003)
  • Dy Director of Education (ACT), Dte. Of Education, R.No.212-A, Old Sectt, Delhi (wrt Public Notice)
  • Counsel to Petitioners in Writ (Appeal) No.196/2004

Letter of 16 Jun 2004
Sub: NCMP-DMP opportunities for Common School System / WP 8954-59/2003, etc

For enforcing free seats in context of CSS, especially in view of notices to schools, and for discussion on note about the same in context of NCMP

16.06.2004

Vice Chairman, DDA

Sub: NCMP-DMP opportunities for Common School System / WP 8954-59/2003, etc

Sir,

According to news reports of 02.06.04 DDA had issued to 133 schools show-cause notice returnable in 15 days about violation of free seats condition. I seek to know status of this in view of the following:

(a)     Closing schools for violating one land allotment condition (as done in one hospital) would, except as part of a strategy for achieving Delhi Master Plan (DMP) purpose of universalization of education from which the condition flows, tantamount to misuse of penal powers. It may be recalled a school featured among cases of misuse of powers exposed by CBI in ‘DDA scam’ in March 2003 and, for instance, demolition of misuse in a school covered in above-mentioned petitions has not been effected despite High Court order of 10.09.03 in WP 2638/2003.

(b)     Notices to 133 schools (even as DMP provisions apply to all schools in Delhi) only for free seat violations (tail-end of a series of violations starting with mis-allotments) seem violative of Article 14. It may be recalled DDA had issued on 12.08.03 public notice asking all schools for affidavits in one month about compliance, follow-up to which remains a mystery. Nor has DDA taken issue on DMP violations by MCD or Delhi government in their schools or in procedures for issuing clearances, and even in order and Public Notices pursuant to High Court order about free seats.

(c)     Frivolous ‘replies’ filed around 25.02.04 in WP 8954-59/2003, failure to reply to note of 04.05.04 about extending enforcing free seats to Common School System (CSS) as prayed in them, and request of 17.05.04 to bring them to the attention of the court in a subsequent overlapping matter, etc, suggest a ‘keenness’ to de-link the free seats condition from its statutory purpose. This approach is futile and, in its context, the ‘attack’ on schools seems deflected to divert attention from state failures rather than directed at resolving the problematic situation.

I posit that, with UPA not committing itself to central law for 86th Amendment, the onus of legal regime to absorb imminent education investments in ways best suited to CSS makes extending enforcement of free seats to progressive implementation of CSS an imperative, besides of DMP, also of UPA Common Minimum Programme and 86th Amendment. I posit, further, that this proposition, spelled out in the enclosed note, merits urgent discussion and request DDA initiative for this in view of its statutory mandate. Meanwhile, I offer to post on a web space any comments received on the enclosed note.

Yours sincerely

Gita Dewan Verma / Planner

cc: wrt references in Annex to enclosed note, with request for comment on it

  • Secretary, MoUD, reiterating also requests in letter of 11.06.04
  • Chief Secretary, GNCTD, with request to forward departments / ministries being quoted in media
  • Commissioner, MCD
  • Jt Commissioner (Traffic), Delhi Police
  • Chairman, Delhi Urban Arts Commission
  • JS (HRD-EE), with request also for information of PMO briefing note on education
  • Chairman, Task Force for Improvement of System of Education
  • Director, NIEPA
  • Social Jurist
  • Secretary, Legal Department, MoL&J
  • JD (AC HQ), CBI
  • Deputy Secretary, Lok Sabha Secretariat (Parliamentary Standing Committee)
  • Under Secretary, President’s Secretariat

wrt discussions / note of 04.05.04, with request also to circulate enclosed note

  • Mr Arun Kapur / Ms Rekha Krishnan, VasantValleySchool
  • Ms Kamala Menon, Mothers’ School
  • Ms Ashraf Patel / Pravah
  • Ms Ranjana Ray, Dr A V Baliga Memorial Trust
  • Ms Anuradha Bakshi, Project WHY

wrt engagements, with apologies for not being able to precipitate wider discussion / engagement

  • Mr Hoti Lal, convenor (education), Master Plan Implementation Support Group

enclosed note at:

http://plan.architexturez.net/site/dmp-minders/ncmp-dmp2021/demystify/n03

ORDER OF 27/10/2004

Disposing off MPISG PIL with directions for action in 12 weeks against violations4

IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI

WP(C) 8954, 8955, 8956, 8957, 8958, 8959/2004 27.10.2004

Date of Decision: October 27, 2004

Master Plan Implementation Support Group and ors.........Petitioners

Through: Mr.Ravi Shankar Kumar, Advocate.

Versus

Delhi Development Authority and others...........................Respondents

Through: Mr.Ravi Shankar Kumarfor the petitioner. Mr.Jagmohan Sabharwal, Sr. Advocate, with Ms.Shobhna Takiar for DDA. Mr.Anoop Bagai for MCDMr.Najmi Waziri for Delhi WakfBoard. Mr.Suresh Kait for UOI. Ms.Avinish Ahlawat for Directorate of Education.

CORAM:

HON'BLE THE CHIEF JUSTICE

HON'BLE MR.JUSTICE BADAR DURREZ AHMED

i) Whether Reports of the local papers may beallowed to see the judgment? ii) To be referred to the Reporter or not? iii) Whether the judgment should be reportedin Digest?

B C PATEL, C.J. (ORAL)

It is true that in the matter it is pointed out by the learned counselfor the petitioner that in fact some parcels of land indicated in

WP(C) No.8954-59/03 Page 1 of 2

the lay-out plans as for the use as Nursery Schools are being used asintegrated schools. On behalf of the Education Department, it is stated that only those schools which meet with the norms have been granted permission for upgradation. 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 violators are concened, itis 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 te action be taken within a period of 12 weeks. With this direction the petition is disposed of.

CHIEF JUSTICE

October 27, 2004 BADAR DURREZ AHMED, J.

as

  • 1. Kothari Commission recommendations about CSS and neighbourhood schools are at Annexure-1
  • 2. MPD standards for schools are at Annexure-2
  • 3. Based on suggestions made in 2001 in a report for Vasant Kunj from where citizens’ groups in flats, villages, old bastis and slums approached High Court in December 2003 for MPD CSS implementation
  • 4. Text from Textwise Query on Delhi High Court Case Status Information System (Master Plan; dates around 27/10/2004)