Delhi high court pulls up govt over delay in distribution of textbooks

- May 8, 2024
| By : Patriot Bureau |

A bench led by acting chief justice Manmohan expressed dismay after a Directorate of Education official admitted to the delay in printing study materials from classes 6 to 8

MCD school in North Delhi

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday raised concerns over the delay in distributing books to students in government schools, noting that the academic year’s initial session has passed without the necessary materials being provided.

Questioning the authorities, the court inquired about the reasons behind the delay, particularly when the government was investing in the publication and distribution of these books.

“Why is this happening? If the government is investing in distribution and publication, why the delay? Why can’t it be done promptly? What caused the delay this year?” the bench, consisting of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet P S Arora, queried.

Expressing dissatisfaction, the bench remarked, “The government is investing in distribution and publication. What’s the point of incurring these expenses if we can’t utilize them?”

Although the court was informed about syllabus changes causing the delay, it pointed out that “teaching must be ongoing in private schools.”

“The first session is nearly over, spanning from April 1 to May 10. Students have essentially gone without books, as per your own admission,” the bench emphasized. The court was addressing a public interest litigation on the matter.

A Delhi government official, present at the hearing, assured the court that despite the delay in distributing new books, studies were ongoing as old books had been provided to the schools. The official also mentioned that funds had been allocated for students of Classes 9 to 12 to purchase books.

Advocate Ashok Agarwal, representing the petitioner NGO Social Jurist, highlighted that several students from Classes 1 to 12 were still awaiting books or funds for purchasing books and uniforms.

Regarding the delay in distributing books for Classes 6 to 8 due to syllabus changes, the official informed that printing was in progress.

Addressing the issue of newly constructed school buildings, the Delhi government counsel stated that two buildings were already in use, and the process of shifting was underway for a third building. Assuring completion by specified deadlines for the remaining buildings, the counsel’s statement was accepted by the court, holding the Director, Education, GNCTD, accountable.

The court also urged authorities to utilize the vacated buildings by establishing new schools to augment infrastructure.

In a status report, the Delhi government assured that necessary arrangements would be made for the procurement and supply of dual desks in schools. Despite challenges such as space constraints and high population density, efforts to maintain basic amenities and control student-classroom ratios would continue, the report said. (With inputs from PTI)