As you are aware from our earlier requests, since 2000 we are seeking enforcement of statutory Delhi Master Plan provisions for equal access neighbourhood schooling / common school system here. In face of all-round indifference to this statutory solution for universalizing education (and illegalities getting in its way), we were left with no choice but to move court in December 2003 with a clutch of PIL by MPISG conveners of area groups from all classes, with DDA, MoUD, GNCTD, MCD and Police as respondents. In the course of the PIL also we wrote to schools for meetings in an attempt to arrive at an action-plan to everyone’s reasonable satisfaction to assist the court, but nearly no one responded. On 27.10.2004 Hon’ble High Court disposed off our PIL with the following order:

“It is true that in the matter it is pointed out by the learned counsel for the petitioner that in fact some parcels of land indicated in the lay-out plans as for the use as Nursery Schools are being used as integrated 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 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.”

From DDA’s counter-affidavit of 26.10.2004 it is clear that practically all schools here are functioning in violation of approved layout plan, etc, as illustrated in our report of June 2001. We have had no response to our letters to DDA and GNCTD asking them to let us know, by the time schools open after winter break, about steps being taken to ensure (a) that public at large is adequately informed of implications of the Order so parents can decide about enrolling their children in affected schools, and (b) the statutory equal access neighbourhood school system (the objective of our PIL). No action to rectify illegalities appears to have started, even as time granted will elapse on Republic Day 2005.

We are writing to suggest that schools in the area discuss amongst themselves / with authorities how to enforce the statutory equal access neighbourhood school system in the context of the Order. We have already made our suggestions and are available for any clarification, etc. We have also amply demonstrated that our approach is not adversarial and we are as committed to lawful solutions as to opposing illegalities. We do hope the schools will at least acknowledge this letter by next week and that we will not have to look elsewhere, around Republic Day, for support on our four-year-long and continuing endeavour in support of a statutory solution for a Constitutional commitment dear to all.

Gita Dewan Verma, MPISG Planner

To support planned development. To oppose unplanned development. To protect our future.