Pune: While a number of parents and activists are going to the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) for complaints against schools, a recent inquiry under the Right To Information (RTI) by a parent activist found that out of the 280 complaints registered with the commission from across the state in the past three years, action has been taken only in 33.
Speaking about the issue, Prasad Tulaskar who filed the application said, “On January 29, 2018, we won a case against IES Modern English School in Dadar regarding the issue of fee hike. The students were given a white card over non-payment of excess fees. After the last hearing, the Court directed the school to give their reply within the next seven days, after which there would be final recommendation on the matter. However, till now, there hasn’t been any action against the school, even after repeated follow-ups by us. Each time we are given the excuse of low manpower. Now, the new academic year has also started and the school has now threatened the students with expulsion.”
Tulaskar said, “We also met with SCPCR, and the authorities promised that the final recommendation would be out soon. As that did not happen, we filed an RTI inquiry.”
He said that from the year 2015 till now 280 cases have been filed with the Commission, however it was shocking that there has been action only in 33 cases. “There is an increase in atrocities and injustice against children these days. If the children and parents have to wait for so long to get justice, what is the point of having such a commission?” Tulaskar asked.
Adv Siddharthshankar Sharma, who has been following the issue for a long time, said, “No matter what government is ruling the state, their role towards contributing to the SCPCR has never been satisfactory. Since 2011, there were no appointments of a chairperson or any other members to the Commission, and it was run by a single member secretary. In 2016, after the Bombay High Court issued an order to the State government, the appointments were made. While the backlog till 2014 was cleared, maximum number of cases from 2015 are still pending.”
Sharma added that while the State government is wrong in its approach, the Commission is also not showing any interest in helping the complainants.
“Recently, the Commission returned a cheque of more that Rs 50 lakh to the government as the amount was less than 50 per cent of what was due from the government,” he said.
Sharma said that while the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has a ‘Citizen Charter’ and promises to give report on the filed cases within 30 days, the State Commission is taking more than three years to do so.
“While the Commission has been giving the excuse of lack of manpower as to why they can’t clear cases soon, the Commission is only a recommendatory authority. They can only recommend to the State government for taking action. Also, it’s not like they have a huge burden of cases, as 280 cases in a period of three years is not a big number. They don’t have to give judgement like the Court. So the excuse is not valid,” Sharma said.