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High Court seeks MCD’s reply on Afghan students denied statutory financial benefits

September 20, 2023

The Delhi High Court has requested a response from the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) regarding a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that alleges Afghanistan refugee students, enrolled in a primary school under the corporation, are being denied their entitled financial benefits due to difficulties in opening bank accounts.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Narula issued notice to the MCD, the MCD Primary School at Jangpura Extension, and the Indian Overseas Bank at Jangpura in response to the petition.

The court has directed the authorities to provide their responses to the plea, scheduling further hearings for October 6.

The PIL, filed by the NGO Social Jurist, contends that the actions of the respondents in withholding statutory benefits from Afghan refugee students are arbitrary, unjust, malicious, discriminatory, unethical, detrimental to children, and violate the fundamental right to education guaranteed under the Constitution of India, the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, and the Delhi Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules.

Advocates Ashok Agarwal and Kumar Utkarsh, representing the petition, argued that according to the Delhi Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules, all students in schools operated by the Delhi government and MCD are entitled to free textbooks, writing materials, and uniforms. Instead of providing these materials, the authorities transfer money to the students’ accounts.

The plea highlights that out of 178 students, 73 are Afghan nationals attending the MCD school, and all students at the Jangpura Extension school receive their statutory financial benefits through their bank accounts, except for 46 Afghan students who lack the necessary KYC documents to open bank accounts.

The petitioners suggested that if there were issues with opening or activating bank accounts, cash should be provided to the students, but no action has been taken thus far. The funds meant for the students are currently with the MCD school.

The petition requests the issuance of an appropriate writ, order, or direction to compel the respondents, particularly the MCD Primary School at Jangpura Extension, to grant statutory benefits to the 46 Afghan refugee students.

Source: PTI

Also read: Afghanistan bans secondary education for girls: A step towards regressive era

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