Gangtok, 18 Aug:
Sikkim High Court has taken up the new Public Interest Litigation on the basis of the letter petition by aggrieved parents of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Pakyong (JNV Pakyong), seeking court intervention and direction to the respondents to consider their demands of introduction of Science Stream and other infrastructural development.
Taking up the PIL by the Division Bench of Sikkim High Court, Justice Meenakshi Madan Rai and Justice Bhaskar Raj Pradhan issued notice to the State of Sikkim through the Chief Secretary, Government of Sikkim, the Education Department through the Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Sikkim, the District Collector-cum-Chairman, Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, The Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Pakyong Sub-Division, Principal Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Pakyong, Navodaya Vidyalaya Samity, through the Commissioner, Noida, Uttar Pradesh and Central Public Works Department, through the Executive Engineer, Gangtok Central Division, Balwakhani, East Sikkim directing them to file status report be filed within four weeks. In the letter petition the parents have stated that despite several representations made to the concerned authorities, issues related to Vidhalaya were remained unaddressed and exacerbated by the circumstance that the children come from humble backgrounds making it difficult for the parents to address the financial issues. The JNV Pakyong was established in the year 2005–06 and is running its senior secondary level classes without a Science Stream in Class XI–XII, thereby putting the children who opt for the Science Stream through great inconvenience as they have to look for other Schools in pursuit of their choice of Stream.
As per the norms of the Navodaya Vidyalaya Samity every senior secondary schools will have science as one of the main stream apart from Arts and Commerce.
The parents have also raised the issue of unmatched vacation stating that students were facing harsh climatic condition during the winter season and prayed for the winter vacations be extended by making necessary adjustments from the other vacations taken during the year. The serious issues related to the hostel facilities, especially for the girl students are required to be augmented by concluding the land acquisition process for which the parents were running pillar to post for getting justice and affordable quality education in central government funded especial project of imparting best education through Navodaya Vidyalaya Samity.
While passing the order, the division bench stated that “…It requires no reiteration here that every child has a right to live with dignity which he can be assured of by accessing education of his choice. Should he be deprived of this, he is also deprived of his right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Hence no impediment should refrain a child from attaining the rights guaranteed to him by the Constitution”.
Parents in their letter petition also highlighted the reason and vision behind setting up of JNV schools across the country where more than 650 Vidhalayas are functioning said that the “To provide good quality modern education-including a strong component of culture inculcation of values, awareness of the environment, adventure activities and physical education- to the talented children predominantly from the rural areas without regard to their family's socio-economic condition”.
Having regard to the nature of the adjudication involved in the instant petition, the court was of the considered view that assistance of an Advocate is necessary and on the request of the Court, Senior Advocate, N Rai and Advocate, Sushmita Gurung, present in Court, have consented to assist the Court as Amicius Curiae. In the other hand, Sudesh Joshi, Additional Advocate General who was present on advance notice on behalf of Respondents. The next date of hearing is listed on 21 Sept, 2020.