RTI query forces National Public School, Indiranagar, into RTE ambit

The school had sought exemption, claiming to be a minority institution

A reputable school in Indiranagar has come under the purview of the Right to Education (RTE) Act only recently, after a Right To Information (RTI) application forced the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to take action.

The RTE Act, which mandates that general category private schools provide free admission to students from economically and socially backward sections, came into effect on April 1, 2010, but it was only on November 30, 2012, that the National Public School in Indiranagar applied for recognition under Section 18 of the RTE Act. But a year and a half after applying for recognition, the school went to the High Court seeking exemption from the RTE Act, claiming that it was a minority institution, not a general category one.

On March 28, 2014, Kalidas Reddy, an RTI applicant, sought a copy of the recognition certification under the RTE Act, as well as documents and annexure submitted by the school seeking recognition. For more than a year, officials in the DPI, which oversees primary and secondary school education, denied the information, compelling Reddy to approach the first appellant authority and then to the second appellant authority, which is the Karnataka Information Commission.

When the matter came up for hearing on July 21, 2015, Information Commissioner L Krishnamurthy imposed a penalty of Rs 5,000 on the previous Block Education Officer (BEO) for denying the information and directed the new BEO to provide the same to the applicant.

As no recognition was issued till date, the Deputy Director of Public Instruction (DDPI) of Bengaluru South issued a provisional certificate in a jiffy, based on the 2012 application. This paved way for the admission of underprivileged children to the school.

Without recognition
Reddy questioned why the DDPI and the BEO did not act on the application submitted by the school on November 30, 2012, and gave it recognition only on July 28, 2015, after the KIC fined the BEO Rs 5,000. He also demanded how the school operated without recognition from the DPI for five years even though the RTE Act mandated that recognition must be sought within six months of the law coming into effect.

But underprivileged students may not get admission to the school immediately as it is learnt to have obtained a stay from the High Court, a senior official in the DPI said on the condition of anonymity.
DH News Service

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