SC says model builder-buyer agreement important, issues notice to Centre

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  The Centre should look into aiding poor students with gadgets and internet facilities in a bid to address the digital divide created in the backdrop of online classes in government and aided schools, a Supreme Court bench said.

The court was hearing an appeal filed by Unaided Recognised Private Schools challenging a previous order of the Delhi High Court which directed private as well as government schools to provide facilities to poor students for online classes.

The bench led by Justices DY Chandrachud and BV Nagarathna said that there is a risk of kids dropping out of schools while it also asked the Delhi government to come up with a plan for the effective implementation of the RTE Act.

“Article 21A of the Constitution has to become a reality and if that is to be so, the needs of children from underprivileged sections to receive adequate access to online education cannot be denied,” the bench said.

It will be a disparity if a section of students find it unable to do homework, which is assigned and submitted through online these days, it said. “We must appreciate the Delhi High Court for its judgement. It is heart-wrenching to even think of the disparity among the children. From where will a poor family get a laptop or tablet to make their children study online?” Justice Chandrachud said.

“The state has to come up with a plan and mobilise funds. It is the responsibility of the government to take care of these children,” Justice Nagarthna said.

The bench said in its order, “We, therefore, direct that it would be necessary to the government of NCT Delhi to come out with a plan which shall be placed before the court and to effectuate the salient objective of the RTE Act.”

The bench also asked the managements of the unaided recognised schools to follow suit.