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KEEPING IN VIEW THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT TO EDUCATION OF SPECIAL CHILDREN, A VERY ONEROUS RESPONSIBILITY IS CAST UPON THE SCHOOL WHICH IS TO PROVIDE INCLUSIVE EDUCATION: PUNJABA ABD HARYANA HIGH COURT

This particular decision is upheld by the Punjab and Haryana High Court through the division bench of Justice Suddhir Mittal in the case of Mehtab and another v State of Haryana and others (Civil Writ Petition No.32628 of 2019 (O&M)

FACTS

Essentially, the mother of a 13 year old child Mehtab was asked by the school authorities to withdraw her child who is suffering from Down Syndrome due to abnormalities in chromosomes existing in genes. The School authorities alleged that the activities of the child in class were detrimental to the safety of other children as he had a tendency to become violent. Several other concerns were also raised and finally, the mother was asked to withdraw her child from the School.

There also existed a disagreement between the school staff and the mother regarding activities in which Mehtab should be engaged. The mother was insisting upon greater academic activity whereas according to the school the child should have been engaged in games and other activities. Against this, she made a Complaint to the District Child Welfare Officer, Panchkula, and other concerned authorities, however, no action was taken by the authorities for the welfare of the child and therefore, the instant writ petition was filed.

JUDGEMENT

Special children have a fundamental right to elementary education and the right to grow up in society up to their optimum potential. This conclusion is irresistible by virtue of the definition clause of the Right to Education Act. A “child” is every child of the age of six to fourteen years. Some of these children are disadvantaged or have disabilities. They are special children as they need special assistance. Towards this end, the State has to provide counseling facilities for parents as well so that they may be made to adjust to the limitation of their children and accept their development commensurate with the disabilities. In this particular case the mother is unable to adjust to the limitation of her child and the school is unable to sensitize her.

Mehtab has not attended school for the last three years. His mother has sought a school leaving certificate as far back as on 23.09.2020 without success. It is directed that Mehtab be taken back in school. As a penalty, it is directed that till the time Mehtab remains in school, he shall not be charged for his education. It is, however, clarified that in case the mother wants to move him to another institution, school leaving certificate shall be made available on demand. Thus, the writ petition is partly allowed.

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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY NAISARGIKA MISHRA

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