Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Private schools also to provide Separate Toilet & Drinking Water under the RTE Act

Dear Friends,

Though the Court has clarified that separate toilets for boys and girls  as well as drinking water provisions are a must under the RTE wherever education is being imparted - be it private schools or the government. However, it would have been better to also specify that the toilets and drinking water provisions were made accessible to children with disabilities in the schools.

The Supreme Court has ruled that all schools must have separate toilets for boys and girls, and also facilities for water for drinking and other purposes.  The court's May 9 verdict has made it clear that these were integral to Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009.

"Separate toilets for girls and boys as well as availability of water are essential for basic human rights that enhance the atmosphere where the education is imparted. It can also be put in the compartment of basic needs and requirements in schools," said the court.


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Dhananjay Mahapatra,TNN | May 11, 2014, 04.14 AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has ruled that separate toilets for boys and girls as well as drinking water facility were integral to right to education and ordered that all schools, including those run by minority community, must make provision for them. 

A bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice V Gopala Gowda said the May 6 judgment of the 5-judge constitution bench, which had exempted the minority-run schools from admitting poor and backward students under the Right to Education Act, had not diluted the mandate of the RTE Act for toilet and drinking water facilities in all schools. 

The bench said separate toilets and drinking water facilities "are essential for basic human rights that enhance the atmosphere where the education is imparted. It can also be put in the compartment of basic needs and requirements in schools." 

The bench was dealing with an application filed by JK Raju complaining that though the Supreme Court in 2012 had upheld the validity of RTE Act, the Andhra Pradesh government had not implemented the direction for providing toilet and drinking water facilities in the state. 

The court in 2012 judgment in Society for Unaided Private Schools of Rajasthan had said ordered the schools across the country, irrespective of whether they were government, government-aided, private or minority, to provide toilets facilities for boys and girls, drinking water, sufficient class rooms, and teaching and non-teaching staff. 

The Andhra Pradesh government through advocate K Raghava Rao informed the court that there had been some compliance of the court's judgment as well as provisions of RTE Act, but sought more time to fully implement the directions. 

The bench said: "We fail to appreciate the AP government's explanation. When the young children go to school and they do not have essential facilities, drinking water and separate toilets and the requisite teaching and non-teaching staff who impart education subject-wise, in our considered opinion that would be causing a dent in the system of imparting education." 

"Once there is an impairment of imparting education, needless to say the country would not be in a position to produce the conscientious and progressive citizens for this country," it said. 

While directing the principal secretary to AP government to file a status report on the implementation of facilities regarding separate toilets for boys and girls and drinking water, the bench asked the education secretary to remain present in the court on July 7.


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