Update on PIL seeking improvement of Jharkhand schools: HC directs state to finish infrastructure construction


The High Court of Jharkhand at Ranchi released an order dated 8th January, 2018 in relation to the PIL filed in the month of October, 2017, which sought the implementation of the RTE Act and improvement in the quality of infrastructure, teaching and other basic amenities in government schools. The petitioner (Advocate Md Mumtaz Ansari of Wasseypur, Dhanbad) highlighted in the PIL the lack of basic infrastructure like bench/desks, kitchen, library, storeroom, boundary etc in addition to the lack of sufficient teaching and non-teaching staff in Utkramit Urdu Madhya Vidyalaya, Wasseypur. As stated in the PIL, the school had no electricity connection and the mid-day meals for the students were prepared in unhygienic conditions. Moreover, 498 students ranging from class 1 to 8 were confined to only two classrooms in the absence of basic amenities for their study. In the instant petition, the petitioner had made three prayers to the Jharkhand High Court seeking the issuance of a writ of Mandamus directing the Respondent/State to provide basic infrastructure, requisite teaching and non-teaching staff to the school in question and/or seeking the issuance of a writ of Mandamus directing the Respondent/ State to implement the judgement passed by the Supreme Court in a similar case namely Environment and Consumer Protection Foundation vs. Delhi Admin and Ors and/or seeking the issuance of any writ as the court may deem fit in accordance with the facts and circumstances of the case. The State Government of Jharkhand (Respondent) filed a counter affidavit on December 15, 2017 which stated that land had been allotted for the construction of a new building with the capacity to accommodate the students (as per Paragraph 9) and the students of the school in question had been shifted to a nearby school namely Primary School, Pandarpala, Dhanbad for the time being(as per Paragraph 7). In view of the above facts and circumstances and on having heard the counsel for both sides, the High Court of Jharkhand disposed of the PIL through the order of January 8, 2018, subject to the condition that the State Government shall complete the pending construction work as stated in the counter-affidavit within a time bound schedule.